Asia outpaces US in m-commerce

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As digital commerce extends into mobile technologies, growing numbers of consumers are integrating smartphones into their purchasing processes.

This worldwide trend is moving fastest in certain emerging markets, where switched-on consumers are proving more apt to embrace m-shopping than are their developed market peers. New research shows that just 16 per cent of US online consumers have used a mobile device to shop online, far short of consumers in emerging markets such as China and India.

After more than a decade of tracking consumers’ use of digital technology, global communications company Havas Worldwide has undertaken a major study to look at emerging paths to purchase around the world. Working with research partner Market Probe International, Havas Worldwide surveyed 10,219 adults in 31 countries, representing a combined population of more than 5 billion.

Globally, 43 per cent of those surveyed have used a smartphone to check for a better price or product reviews online while shopping for a product in a store.The practice is standard in China (74 per cent), India (62 per cent), and Singapore (58 per cent).

Yet, in the US, less than one-third of consumers (32 per cent) have used a mobile phone for comparison shopping or research while browsing a brick-and-mortar retailer.

Despite the majority of top retailers investing R&D dollars in mobile apps, only 26 per cent of US consumers are comfortable purchasing products with their smartphones. Conversely, in China and India the majority of consumers are comfortable doing so (64 and 54 per cent).

Americans are less concerned than their global counterparts about sharing sensitive information online or being the victim of fraud, despite high-profile security breaches regularly making headlines in the US.

Globally, 78 per cent of consumers worry at least occasionally about their security when shopping online. More than half (54 per cent) of respondents in Brazil worry every time they make a purchase online, as do 49 per cent in Chile, 43 per cent in Colombia and Mexico, and 32 per cent in Argentina.

Similarly, 37 per cent in France and 33 per cent in Italy are every-time worriers. In contrast, only one in 10 Americans worry every time they place an order online, and one in four report that they are never or only rarely concerned about the security of their information while making purchases online.

More than three in five global respondents (61 per cent) trust peer reviews of products and services more than they trust expert reviews. Here, too, percentages are far higher in China and India (87 and 74 per cent), as well as Brazil (78 per cent), than in the US (58 per cent).

“Our study explores how consumers are moving on from the last decade’s relatively simple and static model of digital commerce to the more complex and dynamic systems of m-shopping, using a mix of fixed and mobile devices,” says Matt Weiss, global chief marketing officer of Havas Worldwide.

“This shift is most pronounced in Asia, where wider adoption of m-shopping is giving brands and developers great incentive to push through new mobile-centric services.They’re well placed to be ahead of the curve in the coming generations of m-shopping technologies and systems.”

“In markets where smartphones are the norm, brands must aim to create preference by developing apps that make transactions quick and seamless, and that offer more value than the consumer can find elsewhere.”

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