While traditional, ‘bricks & mortar’ retailers are bracing themselves for a tough Christmas, online and mobile channels are experiencing unprecedented growth.
The proliferation of smartphones and tablets as well as more ubiquitous 3G coverage combined with demographic and lifestyle factors, means consumers are increasingly willing to do their Christmas shopping on a mobile device.
A recent Sybase 365 survey conducted in conjunction with the Mobile Marketing Association found that more than half of Americans (62%) would be willing to make a purchase on their mobile device this holiday season if prompted by coupons, discount offers, text alerts, gift cards or loyalty points.
This presents a significant increase compared with a similar Sybase 365 survey a year ago, when only 32% of respondents said that mobile incentives would encourage them to make a purchase on their device.
While smartphone penetration in Asia Pacific as a whole is behind the US and Europe (Nielsen puts it at just under 20%), there is a lot of interest in upgrading, especially with Android devices bringing smartphones and tablets into the reach of Asia’s aspirational middle class.
It is also important to remember that Asia Pacific is a region of great diversity – some markets such as Singapore and Australia already have some of the highest smart device penetration rates in the world, making them an ideal test bed for mobile commerce and mobile marketing.
Mobile Ad network InMobi found in its recent Mobile Insights Report a strong correlation between mobile web browsing and consumers’ willingness to buy goods and services on their mobile. According to the report, a whopping 80 percent of Asian mobile Internet users already indulge in mobile shopping.
The report identified music/movies/games (43%), consumer electronics (24%), travel (12%), and apparel (11%) as the most popular products already being purchased from mobile devices.
Mobiles are also great for comparing prices, and finding places to buy. And as a recent PayPal study highlighted, a quick and easy purchase from a work computer or mobile phone can often be preferable to using your lunch break to visit the shops (You might want to use your personal mobile if you have a large family to shop for. Three quarters of companies monitor Internet use at work.)
Undoubtedly shoppers are ready, but what about retailers? Unfortunately, when it comes to actually completing a purchase, mobile is usually not the easiest option. All too often mobile payment options are not yet available, insecure or inconvenient to use.
To truly harness the power of mobile commerce, more needs to be done to create a smooth shopping experience that encompasses the entire purchasing lifecycle from browsing, selecting and paying for goods and services regardless of device type or carrier.
On a more personal note, thanks for reading my blog this year. Any comments, ideas, feedback would be appreciated. Above all, I wish you all a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!