Could Mobile Shopping Cross the Chasm?

March 30, 2010Sparxoo

Since the dawn of the internet, the brand and consumer dynamic has changed drastically. No longer are brands the primary or even secondary resource for product information. With e-marketplaces like Amazon, consumers are information explorers, curating all digital resources to find the most relevant content. And mobile is the next frontier. We predict mobile shopping to cross the chasm into mainstream culture in the next 10 years.


Imagine using your iPhone camera as a bar code scanner to find consumer reviews, competitor pricing and coupons. Imagine no more. Red Laser and its eco-friendly sibling, GoodGuide do just that. Bar code scanning technology might not have your parents jumping with joy (5.4 percent of Gen Y and Gen Xers used their mobile phone to make a purchase, compared to 3.6 percent of all mobile subscribers), but it is one of many advancements making mobile technology more engaging to savvy buyers and more seamlessly integrated into their lives.

As of beginning of 2008, 3.6 percent (9.2 million) of US mobile subscribers use their phone to pay for goods or services. Forty nine percent of mobile data users say that it is likely they will conduct mobile commerce in the future. Already, 6.5 million US mobile consumers say they’ve used text messaging to purchase an item. Just as skeptic consumers refused shopping on the web at first and eventually e-commerce exploded (think Cyber Monday), we should expect a similar path for mobile.

Why is mobile so attractive as a shopping platform? Mobile’s multi-media, GPS capabilities and web-connectivity can:

  • educate users about their local marketplace
  • provide a highly targeted venue for local advertisers
  • enable location-based coupons
  • inform consumers about products (e.g. reviews, consumer reports)
  • create a more immerssive shopping experience

With only 9.2 million of 277 million US mobile users shopping on their phone, what are the hang-ups?

  • 41 percent of mobile users cite security as their biggest concern. As consumers grow more comfortable with mobile devices, safety will be less of a concern (again, think Cyber Monday).
  • 23 percent worry about being charged for airtime. Smartphone unlimited data plans are on the rise, eliminating the worry about data and airtime.
  • 21 percent don’t trust the transaction will be completed. As reputable brands, such as Bed, Bath & Beyond and Target sign on to mobile shopping, transactions will be more accountable.

We predict mobile will cross the chasm in 10 years. But why a decade? Ecommerce nearly quadrupled in four years. If mobile shopping follows a similar pattern, we should expect nearly a third of mobile users purchasing products on their phones. So grab your phone and shop til you drop.

Want to learn more about mobile trends? Read our 2010 Mobile Trend Report.