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One in Four Purchase via Mobile Device?

Posted on 3.17.2008
A new Harris Interactive study was recently released and includes some interesting, if not hard to believe numbers. What immediately jumps off the page is the finding that one in four people with mobile Internet access use their devices to make mobile purchases. The study was conducted online in December 2007 among 1,072 adults ages 18 and over. Since Website Magazine readers tend to be early adopters, we would like to test Harris' findings. Please take a moment to vote below.

Some other findings in the study are of interest in regard to barriers to mobile transactions.
  • The biggest barrier is no surprise, security. It's the top concern for 66% of respondents.
  • Exposure to fraud and scams (63%), losing a device with valuable information (61%), cost (58%) and usability (43%) round out the top five.
It's very interesting that the top three barriers all involve a risk of losing personal data or information. Is purchasing over a wireless mobile device any less secure than over a PC? While it's not exactly a surprise, it points to a serious issue with mobile commerce. Security and privacy concerns are not easily fixed or alleviated even if they are unfounded.

Usability of mobile-enabled commerce sites can be fixed. But looking at the Harris numbers, usability is coming in a distant fifth place. Why? Perhaps users can't get past those first three security barriers. Or it could be that, like me, users have made an attempt to purchase through a mobile device without success. The time I spent attempting to make a purchase and failing was enough for me to head back to my PC to complete the transaction and never try again. Or, maybe users simply aren't in that big of a hurry to make a purchase. I would expect that as usability increases, fears of purchasing through a mobile device will fade. It's kind of like the difference between buying something off the street from a guy in a trenchcoat or buying in a nice clean store with a knowledgable sales staff.


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