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Mobile commerce growing despite inept retail sites: Compete

A quarterly study by Compete found that 37 percent of 1,959 smartphone owners have purchased something non-mobile with their handset in the past six months.

Compete’s Smartphone Intelligence survey found that consumers are getting more comfortable with buying goods on their mobile devices. While more consumers are using handsets to buy items, poor site functionality is still a problem.

“The key finding coming out of Compete’s third quarter Smartphone Intelligence report is that mcommerce is poised for explosive growth in 2010,” said Danielle Nohe, director of consumer technologies at Compete, Boston.

“People are shopping on their smartphones, researching on the go and purchasing, and it is imperative for brands to develop their mobile Web sites or dedicated applications for consumer use,” she said.

Compete provides consumer behavior analysis to worldwide brands in order to improve marketing.

Research in motion
The company’s Smartphone Intelligence report combines consumer insights through surveys with behavioral data through online click-stream data to reveal how smartphone owners are using their devices.

Nineteen percent of the total surveyed consumers have bought music, 14 percent have bought books, DVDs or video games and 12 percent have bought movie tickets.

The most popular mobile shopping-related activities are still research related. Forty-one percent of iPhone users and 43 percent of Android users are most likely to check sale prices at alternative locations from their mobile phones while they are shopping.

The study also found that 39 percent of iPhone users and 31 percent of Android consumers consult peer reviews from their handsets before they make a purchase.

Disgruntled shoppers
Ms. Nohe said one surprising finding is that many Web sites are not optimized for the mobile experience. This causes consumers to abandon their mobile purchasing attempts.

Compete found that 8 percent of smartphone owners that tried to buy a product via their devices were unable to do so.

Forty-five percent of those that abandoned the process reported that they did so because the site would not load.

An additional 38 percent left the site because it was not developed specifically for smartphone users.

Ms. Nohe said she thinks the market is in the middle of an exponential rate of smartphone adoption by consumers because of the lower price points and additional devices, such as those based on Google’s Android operating system.

As consumer use of smartphones for mobile buying increases, retailers must redesign their Web sites to ensure they are effectively reaching this highly influential group of consumers.

“Similar to shopping cart abandonment in the early days of ecommerce, poor mobile site functionality is an issue that must be addressed in order for retailers to market successfully to this channel,” Ms. Nohe said.