Consumers keen on m-commerce

13 May 2011

NUREMBERG: A majority of consumers around the world are interested in mobile commerce, a trend most pronounced in emerging nations like Brazil and China, a multimarket study has shown.

Research firm GfK surveyed 8,603 adults in nine countries – Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, South Korea, the UK and US - and reported that 62% of contributors thought making payments through wireless handsets was an "appealing" prospect.

Figures peaked at 75% among 16-24 year olds, also hitting 74% for innovators and early adopters, and 72% regarding smartphone owners.

South Korea constituted the only market already offering established services to shoppers, and attitudes varied substantially elsewhere.

For example, 82% of China's panel, and 73% of Brazilians, proved enthusiastic about completing transactions in such a way, but totals slipped to roughly 50% across the US and Europe.

One reason behind this trend was that customers in more mature regions already trust existing chip-and-pin processes, while habits are still evolving in fast-growth economies.

In terms of assessing which firms they would trust, consider and prefer to offer payment services, 48% of the sample chose players from the financial sector, particularly high-street banks.

Mobile and telecoms companies, however, lodged just 10%, with network carriers generating the largest levels of approval here.

The smartphone audience, younger participants and early adopters displayed a greater willingness to countenance mobile telecoms specialists and operating systems providers fulfilling such a role.

"Creating a mobile payment service that consumers are comfortable adopting means leveraging the trust placed in financial brands, but it is also vital to have a presence in the mobile sector," said Ryan Garner, director, GfK Technology.

"By tapping into all of these strengths, a mobile payments solution would quickly gain momentum with consumers."

PayPal, Nokia are Apple were the brands securing the best numbers for favourability, with the first member of this group carrying the strongest preference.

More specifically, PayPal delivered 30% for familiarity, 21% when discussing its expertise, and 17% concerning the confidence it commanded among interviewees.

Nokia received a trust rating of 38% in China, measured against 14% globally, and benefitting from a solid record of meeting subscriber needs in the world's most populous nation.

People possessing an iPhone awarded Apple a 38% trust score, climbing from 11% over the entire survey community.

"Those that own iPhones are already used to using their iTunes account to pay for apps and media content, so the step to paying for physical products with their iTunes account is less of a stretch," said the study.

"These three brand examples show that, whilst financial brands have built up high levels of trust, mobile-based brands such as Nokia and Apple, and relatively new financial brands like PayPal, have the potential to quickly disrupt this seemingly comfortable position."

Data sourced from GfK; additional content by Warc staff