SINGAPORE: There is huge untapped demand for mobile shopping in Asia, according to new research that shows that half of those indicating a desire to purchase goods in this way have not yet done so.

Research agency Loudhouse surveyed a total of 3,288 people across the region, in China, India, Japan and Australia, as part of a global study for software firm SAP. It found that 84% of respondents wanted to buy products and services via their mobiles, slightly more than the global average of 82%.

More significantly, however, 42% had not used a mobile to purchase goods but wanted to in the future. Another 42% had already done so and wanted to do so again.

In addition, some 77% of respondents agreed that organisations should use any available technology to make life easier for customers, which SAP argued "further underpinned" the channel's potential.

The issue that exercised them most, cited by 45%, was the hassle of entering a lot of personal information when conducting transactions via their mobile device. Some 41% were worried about the safety of shopping via mobile, while 39% mentioned a possible lack of internet access.

Notwithstanding these concerns, just over two thirds (68%) of APAC users agreed that, compared to 12 months ago, they now used their mobile phones for more activities other than just making calls and texting.

The study further indicated that Indian and Chinese users were more enthusiastic about conducting mobile transactions than their counterparts in the more mature markets of Australia and Japan.

For example, Asian users were much more likely than the global average to use their mobile moderately – defined as a few times a week or monthly – for banking (37% vs. 29% globally) and buying goods and services (37% vs. 26%).

But these activities were led by India (38% banking and 39% purchases) and China (54% for both banking and purchases) in particular.

Overall, the most popular transactions undertaken by those purchasing on mobile were buying clothes (49%) or e-books (47%), followed by paying telecom bills (46%) and buying groceries (45%). Entertainment and travel tickets both registered 44%.

Another way of making life easier for consumers was to offer a greater choice of payment methods. This would encourage 67% of APAC consumers to make a purchase from an organisation or retailer, the report suggested.

Data sourced from SAP; additional content by Warc staff