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60pc of mobile phone owners want to comparison shop: study

With the holiday season approaching, showrooming presents both a critical challenge and opportunity for brands and retailers, according to a new report from Javelin Strategy & Research.

Javelin’s “Mobile Payments Hit $20 Billion in 2012: Tablets Are Key to a Successful Retail Strategy” report looks at the mobile payments industry with tips on how banks, merchants and vendors can take advantage of the space. Additionally, the company looked at how consumers use their devices to shop.

“The No. 1 takeaway  is that consumers are actively embracing mobile — especially tablets,” said Mary Monahan, executive vice president and research director of mobile at Javelin Strategy & Research, Pleasanton, CA.

“This year retailers have to be ready with an online and mobile experience to take advantage of it,” she said.

“The consumers with mobile phones will bring the online world into the physical world, which we will see more of in the next few years.”

Spend on mobile
According to Javelin, 43 percent of mobile phone owners want to use their device to track their finances, and 40 percent bought tickets to an event.

Thirty-four percent of users browse the mobile Web – likely to do price comparisons and buy products. However, the commerce experience on mobile sites is not up to par, per the report.

Despite these experiences, commerce transacted inside applications and mobile sites makes up a large chunk of mobile sales.

In fact, the study found that 24 percent of mobile shoppers in the study bought from a mobile browser. Twenty-seven percent of mobile commerce consumers only use the mobile Web to shop.

Twenty percent of users bought products through an app. Fourteen percent of mobile shoppers solely buy through apps.

Consumers who shop through both a mobile site and app make up 59 percent of mobile shoppers.

There are also spending differences between app and mobile Web shoppers. The average mobile Web shopper made 2.54 purchases per month with a monthly average of $37.

Mobile app shoppers make an average of 2.5 transactions per month with
$26 as the monthly spend. According to Javelin, the lower number for app users likely includes small in-app purchases such as music and ringtones.

Across both app and mobile Web shoppers, physical goods made up 45 percent of the purchasing population.

Javelin claims that mobile online sales from apps and sites will generate $20.3 billion in 2012 out of the total market of $20.7 billion.

As an example of a brand that gets how mobile, online and in-store all combine, Ms. Monahan said that Anthropologie does a good job of inspring consumers with products and merchandising that keeps consumers coming back online, which is similar to the brand’s in-store aesthetic.

Besides just basic commerce, consumers are also increasingly becoming interested in location-based services.

Thirty-one percent of owners use location-based features.

One-third of mobile phone users would like to use their device to receive location-based rewards, such as promotions.

Tab into sales
Tablets are paving the way for mobile commerce.

Javelin claims that in the past year, tablets account for $5.1 billion in mcommerce. This represents approximately 25 percent of the dollar value generated from mobile sales.

Additionally, the study found that 44 percent of tablet owners have bought via their devide in the past 12 months.

When it comes to what tablet owners are buying, 58 percent of purchasers bought apps with 47 percent of all mobile shoppers doing the same.

Other top products for tablet users include physical goods, music and games.

Fifty-two percent of Amazon’s Kindle owners surveyed made a purchase through their tablet. However, the average purchase on these devices is $29 compared to the $54 average order size from Apple’s iPad.

Smart shoppers
The study also broke down mobile commerce trends by smartphone device.

Forty-seven percent of all smartphone owners surveyed said that they had bought through either a mobile site or app in the past 12 months. From this amount, 11 percent comes from only mobile Web sales, seven percent comes from app-only sales, and 29 percent come from a combination of mobile Web and apps.

Apple’s iPhone leads as the top smartphone that consumers are shopping from with 60 percent of owners buying from their devices in the past year. Thirty-nine percent of this comes from both mobile Web and app sales, 13 percent comes from only mobile Web and 8 percent comes from only apps.

Forty-eight percent of Windows Phone owners, 46 percent of Android users and 38 percent of BlackBerry users have made a purchase through their device in the past year.

Problems with POS
Although mobile point-of-sale presents a large opportunity for marketers, there are still significant hurdles.

For instance, nine percent of mobile phone owners have made a payment via POS — whether it is through near-field communication, QR codes or a cloud-based service.

Ten percent of consumers in the study said that they would be interested in using the technology if it became available, representing one-fifth of the market of mobile phone users. However, the lack of enabled devices and a low number of options with merchants are problems.

Out of the total $20.7 expected market for mobile payments in 2012,
$.4 billion is expected to come from POS.

When it comes to reasons why consumers do not want to use contactless payments, the No. 1 reason is because users did not see a benefit to the technology.

Other top reasons included security and education on the technology. Additionally, consumers wondered if the payment options would be accepted by their most-frequent merchants.

Store on mobile
The study also looked at the role of mobile wallets in the ecosystem.

Thirty-one percent of mobile consumers would be interested in using a mobile wallet if it was available to them.

Unsurprisingly, mobile wallet users are likely to engage in a large amount of mobile financial behavior. For example, 47 percent of mobile wallet users have used a mobile site to buy something compared to 24 percent of all mobile owners. Forty-one percent of mobile wallet users used an app to buy something versus 20 percent of all mobile users.

These wallet users also have an online mean purchase amount 15 percent higher than all mobile owners.

“In the long term, we will see that consumers want to make payments at the point-of-sale, which is where mobile wallets are headed,” Ms.
Monahan said.

“Merchants have to think about how to play in the new environment where the mobile device is the connection point for consumers,” she said.

“That mobile phone is either your best dream or worst nightmare.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York