Mobile habits change

11 July 2011

LONDON: Mobile internet users around the world are increasingly utilising their phones to research products and make purchases, a study has found.

The MEF, the trade body, commissioned OnDevice Research to poll 8,530 people from its specialist mobile survey panel.

Contributors were based in nine countries: Brazil, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Qatar, Singapore, South Africa, the UK and the US.

Overall, the number of participants looking for information about, or actually buying, goods and services via wireless devices reached at least 72% in each of the markets analysed.

Figures hit 91% in the UK, where 82% of interviewees also logged on to the mobile internet every day, and 34% now used the fixed-line web less than was the case 18 months ago.

In the US, 41% of respondents had paid for something via mobile in the last six months, standing at 38% when it came to purchasing goods through the network provider's storefront.

Another 11% completed such transactions from a retailer's m-commerce portal, and 9% had leveraged social media properties for this reason.

Some 84% of respondents in Singapore had employed wireless handsets to research or buy goods, and 74% accessed the mobile internet every day.

At present, 40% of acquisitions made in this way are for digital offerings, but 15% of relevant adults had bought electronics products in the same fashion.

Mobile banking is also gaining ground, as 32% of the sample in Singapore regularly check their balance on a wireless device, and 18% pay bills.

Elsewhere, 63% of Indonesians had sent airtime remittances - purchases of prepaid mobile credits often serving as an informal type of money transfer - on a phone.

Among the Indonesian shoppers who had bought something on a handset in the last six months, 19% used a retailer's mobile site, and 41% did so via their network operator.

In Brazil, 79% of people engaged in activities related to m-commerce, the study revealed.

Over 20% of contributors in the country would also be willing to spend more than £200 on mobile purchases, doubling the 10% yielded by India, in second place on this measure.

Moreover, 41% of Brazilians claimed to use the fixed-line web less often than 18 months ago, whereas 84% log on from a phone on a daily basis, and 37% connect for at least five hours per day.

Meanwhile, although 72% of individuals in Qatar and 67% of their Egyptian counterparts had looked to the mobile internet for commercial purposes, purchase levels lagged considerably behind these totals.

"This global research clearly demonstrates that consumers across the world are embracing mobile as a key access point for their content and commerce needs," Andrew Bud, the MEF's global chairman, said.

"It also illustrates that mobile is an essential platform for companies wishing to drive consumer engagement and monetise their goods, services and digital products."

Data sourced from MEF; additional content by Warc staff