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Consumers uncomfortable with mobile commerce: Study

January 26, 2010

Asknet's mobile cart

Asknet's mobile cart

An asknet Inc. survey of 400 smartphone users in the East and West Coast regions found that consumers are frustrated by the cost, accessibility and mechanisms supporting mobile commerce.

The survey was conducted simultaneously in Boston and San Francisco and found that 29 percent of consumers said they were uncomfortable entering credit card details for mobile purchasing. Despite predicted growth in the mobile commerce sector, asknet’s survey indicated that there are consumers that are still not ready to make payments via the mobile channel.

“It shows that users are willing to use their mobile devices more and are keen to try mobile commerce, but are frustrated with the process,” said Aston Fallen, president of asknet, San Francisco. “Many of the solutions that the market currently offers are not very user friendly.”

Asknet is a provider of ecommerce distribution services for software companies such as F-Secure, DivX and Nero.

F-Secure has used asknet’s mobile shopping cart to sell its security software through its wireless shop since it was first implemented in December 2007.

Mobile frustration
The survey found that 38 percent of smartphone users said they were frustrated with the high cost of applications.

When asked why they did not buy applications such as music, games, consumer software or business applications for their phone, 34 percent of consumers said that it was not worth the time or effort.

Almost half of respondents, 45 percent, said they had never bought applications or software for their smartphone.

Of the 55 percent that had bought software or applications for their smartphone, more than 87 percent had spent less than $50 in a year, 9 percent had spent $51-100, 3 percent had spent $101-150 and 1 percent said they spent more than $150 a year on applications and downloads.

Mr. Fallen said the fact that more than half of respondents had purchased software or an application for their smartphone was surprising considering the indicated frustration.

“It demonstrates that users want more of a mobile shop approach from service and application providers,” Mr. Fallen said. “The market needs to step up.”

Of the consumers that indicated they had bought items, 61 percent had bought music in the last year, 41 percent had bought games, 35 percent ringtones, 33 percent news, 29 percent GPS or location-based software and 27 percent had bought business applications.

Sixty-three percent said they would spend more money on music, 51 percent said they would buy more business applications, 48 percent wanted access to GPS applications and 37 percent said they wanted to buy games.

In terms of smartphone models owned, the asknet survey found that Research In Motion’s BlackBerry and the Apple iPhone topped the list.

More than half, 53 percent, of those polled in Boston said they owned a BlackBerry, 37 percent said they owned an iPhone and 10 percent said they owned another brand.

In San Francisco, 41 percent owned another brand of smarthphone, 34 percent owned a BlackBerry and 25 percent owned an iPhone.

The top three wireless network providers were AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile, with AT&T leading in responses at 43 percent, followed by Verizon with 31 percent and T-Mobile at 19 percent across the survey.

Ready and waiting
Asknet said there is willingness to spend, but at the moment it is very conservative with small annual average revenue per customer.

More user-friendly ways to purchase will result in a huge increase in spend, Mr. Fallen said. 

Consumers want the applications, asknet said, they just need an easy way to shop.

Mr. Fallen said the biggest item holding back mobile commerce is difficult payment mechanisms.

“Users want a simple and straightforward buying experience,” Mr. Fallen said. “[Retailers] don’t miss the opportunity to be part of the mobile community.

“Seize the market and revenue opportunities now,” he said.

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Chirs Harnick is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach him at

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3 Responses to “Consumers uncomfortable with mobile commerce: Study”

  1. Stacy Kelly Says:

    Mobile Previews has been selling movie tickets for over a year via the mobile phone. We have just added video game and DVD purchasing through All of the latest titles are available and no fees attached for DVD and Game purchases.

    Go to choose the product (movie, DVD, TV or Video Games) channel, choose your title, watch the trailer if you like and purchase the product.

    It is simple and secure. You purchase tickets via and games and DVD’s via No worries about securtiy.

  2. Jeremy-AppPublishing Says:

    This is exactly how e-commerce started back in ’96, or whatever date you might attribute to “the beginning”. But tools like we are developing at AppPublishing are helping to pave the way, and phone services are going to start billing based on in-person actions with the smartphones. Many changes down the road.

  3. Andy Bovingdon Says:

    An interesting report that supports what Bango sees from mobile payments around the world. Mobile consumers are far more inclined to pay for content, apps and services when they can pay on their phone bill via a consistent, single click. Sure the operator payout rate can be less but it is much better than it used to be – many operators now pay well over 80% which is better than most app stores. Being forced to enter card payment details or complex registration information (like Nokia Ovi) simply blocks most transactions.

    In addition, most card payment systems miss important mobile complexities such as consumers swapping network connections between their operator and WiFi. This results in unpredictable and inconsistent payment experiences – customers can pay one moment but not the next – even thought it is the same site and phone, simply switched to use WiFi rather than their operator network.

    We see 8x more mobile payments succeed through operator billing than via Credit Card. We also see 25% more sales as a result of using a unified mobile billing platform like Bango Payment (see

    Handset manufacturers and operators with complex app stores that require pre-registration are missing the point of mobile and delivering an inferior experience. As a result, content providers, brands and app developers are losing most of their potential sales volumes. We have a number of white papers on this topic, along with best ways to resolve it, on the Bango website.

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