Asia key to m-commerce

17 February 2011

BARCELONA: Consumers in Asian nations like China, India and South Korea display the greatest interest in mobile commerce, a multimarket study by Accenture has found.

The consultancy, surveyed 1,100 people in Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Spain, South Korea, the UK and US.

Its panel consisted of early adopters owning at least four internet-connected devices, and regularly utilising a minimum of four websites or online services.

Overall, 45% of this audience proved keen to pay for goods using handsets, but 73% voiced concerns linked to privacy and identity theft.

However, although 70% of Accenture's cohort thought participating in m-commerce increased these risks, 62% of individuals possessing credit cards would pay their mobile bill wirelessly if receiving a 20% discount.

More specifically, 69% of respondents in Asia expressed positive views about completing most transactions via this route, peaking at 76% in China and 75% for India, and falling to 56% in Korea and 47% regarding Japan.

Brazilians logged 70% on the same metric, measured against just 26% covering the US and Europe.

Turning to actual behaviour, 47% of the Chinese sample had made purchases through their phone in the last six months, ahead of Korea's 42% and Japan's 33%.

In a further indication of Asia's stronger enthusiasm, 38% of regional contributors had previously scanned an interactive barcode with their handset to gain extra product information.

Another 36% have shown a "digital ticket" when attending events or boarding a flight, and 31% bought an item or accessed a coupon having snapped a "smart poster" carrying an electronic tag.

Indeed, coupons and gift cards could constitute a particularly effective means for marketers to engage shoppers, as 64% of interviewees may use such offerings if they are sent directly to a phone.

Scores again reached a high in China, on 94%, while Korea registered 91% and India generated 76%, Accenture revealed.

Elsewhere, 79% of those polled expected to reclaim virtual vouchers when in stores, compared with 77% for paper equivalents clipped from magazines.

A 59% majority would also welcome receiving money-off promotions based on past purchases, a status 47% afforded to being sent personalised mobile ads when near the product in question.

Similarly, 69% demonstrated a willingness to trade exposure to mobile advertising for lower usage fees.

If customers were delivered a coupon on behalf of a store they did not generally frequent, 77% anticipated visiting that chain and redeeming the full amount.

For 69%, the preferred option was swapping this and having $7 (€5; £4) added to their "digital wallet" or bank account, while 68% hoped to substitute it for a reduction in costs, such as the price of voice minutes.

An additional 67% favoured switching this $10 deal for $7 to spend in outlets where they usually shopped.

In considering which companies might enable consumers to complete transactions on mobile phones, 59% suggested credit card providers should take a leading role.

Network operators recorded 54%, software manufacturers secured 52%, equalling large retailers, and handset makers yielded 48%.

Andy Zimmerman, Accenture's director for mobility services, argued everything from banking to supermarket loyalty schemes could be impacted by these trends.

"Mobile commerce … is poised to drive huge changes in the way we shop and pay for goods and services," he said.

"We can expect a convergence of traditional and alternative currencies, and it has huge implications on the entire in-store retail experience."

Data sourced from Accenture; additional content by Warc staff