Study Finds 80% of Consumers Shop on Smartphones, M-Commerce Gains

A study commissioned by PayPal, conducted by the global market research and consulting firm Ipsos, shows consumers are shopping on smartphones more than ever but remain concerned about mobile commerce security.

The global study of 22,000 consumers across age groups found 80% of consumers have shopped via smartphone, but only 63% of ecommerce businesses are optimized to accept mobile payments.

“That’s a big gap of businesses that are missing out by not taking advantage of the explosive growth of mobile commerce,” PayPal said in the report. “Businesses must offer mobile optimized experiences if they are interested in attracting and maintaining younger consumers, such as Gen Z and Gen Y.”

Prioritizing mobile could result in fewer abandoned carts and higher sales, PayPal said. The survey found the primary reason for m-commerce purchase abandonment is merchants failing to offer consumers’ preferred payment method. Twenty-one percent of respondents globally abandoned purchases for this reason, the survey found.

The PayPal survey story presented other key findings:

  • In the U.S., 72% of consumers have used a smartphone to pay online, while 57% of businesses reported offering a mobile optimized experience, the second lowest figure of all countries surveyed.
  • Women are leading the way in m-commerce adoption, with 48% of women preferring mobile purchases vs. 39% for men. When it comes to location, 19% of females use their mobile device to shop at work, while that number jumps to 26% for men.
  • Supply and demand for social commerce is aligned between consumers and merchants, with 1 in 3 of both categories of respondents saying they utilize it.
  • Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp are the most used social commerce platforms globally, with (35% of respondents using it doing so on Facebook properties.
  • 87% of merchants that sell in person have accepted sales via a contactless payment, with 50% of these instances taking place with a smartphone.
  • India is the leader in m-commerce usage, with 70% of consumers there preferring it for shopping, and 81% of merchants optimized for it.
  • At 83%, Italy is the top European market for consumers to make online purchases via smartphone, while 65% of Italian businesses say them have a mobile optimized site or app.

In terms of security and trust, 51% of respondents globally said they would be less likely to make purchases via mobile because of security concerns. This is lower in some countries; for example, just 28% of respondents in Japan said they were less likely to make m-commerce purchases for this reason.

The highest m-commerce security concerns, the survey found, were in the UK (64%), Australia (63%) and the U.S. (58%). This carried over to merchants, with 20% citing security concerns as a reason for hesitating on m-commerce optimization.

However, a separate holiday shopping survey by AdColony, focusing on the U.S. and Canada, found that “mobile is considered just as secure as desktop.”

AdColony’s results on the purchase of gifts via m-commerce aligned with PayPal on overall m-commerce participation, finding 81% of consumers have purchased gifts via mobile. Forty-five percent of survey respondents said they use smartphones purchases regularly.

AdColony’s survey also found:

  • Buyers purchased various types of items on mobile including books, event tickets and travel. Clothes (43%) and home goods (20%) lead the other categories by significant margins.
  • More than half of respondents said they’ve never purchased something on mobile directly from an ad. However, 71% said they would if the product was relevant to them. With the right creative and targeting, brands could use mobile ads to convert ad viewers into customers.
  • Even if a consumer visits a store, they will purchase online if they find a cheaper price or need a different size or color of the item.
  • Sixty-one percent of respondents said it’s important to have a mobile device while shopping in store.
  • Consumers use their phones in various ways but the most common are to research competitor prices (55%) and to get discounts for stores (46%).

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