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Consumers embrace mobile for bigger purchases: study

May 25, 2011

Half of mobile device owners spend $100 or more on a purchase via their smartphone, according to a new study by JiWire.

The JiWire Mobile Audience Insights Report Q1 2011 shows that consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable making purchases via their mobile phones. Mobile commerce is n0t limited to small-ticket items either, with a growing segment of consumers comfortable making bigger purchases via their mobile devices.

“The fact that 50 percent of mobile device owners are willing to spend $100 or more is reflective of a broader trend that mobile commerce has moved beyond ringtones to much bigger-ticket items,” said David Staas, senior vice president of marketing at mobile advertising firm JiWire, San Francisco. “Mobile moving into the higher tiers means it is becoming a mainstream commerce platform and that’s an exciting trend to see.”

The report shows that mobile consumers are growing more comfortable shopping via a mobile device, with 84 percent of the mobile audience partaking in some sort of shopping behavior on a mobile device in the first quarter, up from 70 percent in the previous quarter.

This includes the 20 percent of consumers who researched and made a purchase from their device.

The report also points to mobile’s growing role in multichannel shopping, with 31 percent researching a purchase on their device before buying it in-store, up 5 percent from the previous quarter.

In addition, 40 percent researched a purchase on their device before buying it online, up 19 percent from the fourth quarter.

“The growing viability of mobile to drive conversions in store is interesting data for marketers as they start to think about mobile as a way to drive ROI and a real return on their marketing dollars,” Mr. Staas said.

Location-based interest growing
The most popular category for mobile shopping is travel, with 62 percent researching travel and 42 percent making a travel-related purchase via mobile. This is followed by entertainment, with 55 percent researching and 40 percent purchasing and, retail with 54 percent researching and 36 percent purchasing.

The report also took at look at location-based services, with overall interest in these services up 11.7 percent in the first quarter compared with the previous quarter. The survey shows that 72 percent of the mobile audience purchases local deals, with 44 percent of respondents purchasing local deals at least once a month.

In addition, 62 percent are sharing local deals with friends and more than half of consumers aged 45 and older are sharing local deals.

“As more and more services build location into their offering, this is raising consumer awareness,” Mr. Staas said. “The demand for these services is increasing because location adds value to the service.”

It still remains to be seen whether the recent focus by Washington on the data collection practices of location-based mobile services and their impact on consumer privacy will have any impact on the demand for these services.

“There’s a lot of attention around privacy and location,” Mr. Staas said. “This is an emerging part of the media market and there are always questions around what is the right way to provide these services and still maintain consumer privacy.”

The survey also took a look at the mobile landscape, with usage of iOS devices decreasing 4.1 percent for the quarter.

The Android market continues to grow with several new devices – Samsung Galaxy, HTC Glacier and HTC Hero – making the list for the first time.

With regard to tablets, 71 percent of respondents either own or plan to purchase a tablet. While 58 percent prefer an iOS operating system, 31 percent have no operating system preference.

“Overall, Android is gaining traction,” Mr. Staas said.

“The traction and growth of tablets is a trend that we’ve seen over time, with the tablet category becoming a pretty viable solution set,” he said.

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