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Consumers embrace mobile commerce globally: 91% in UK and 79% in Brazil have used mobile to engage in commerce

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Consumer engagement with mobile commerce has exploded, with as many as 91% of UK consumers having used their mobile device for commerce, to either research or purchase a product. The equivalent figure for Brazil is 79%, while the level did not dip below 72% in any of the markets surveyed.

According to figures in the Global Consumer Survey from MEF, the global community for mobile content and commerce, 82% of UK respondents access the mobile web on a daily basis, slightly less than the 84% that do so in Brazil. The high level of mobile web and commerce activity dovetail with a reduction in fixed-line internet usage: 41% of Brazilians and more than one-third (34%) of UK respondents now access the internet on their PCs less often than 18 months ago.

MEF’s Global Consumer Survey was conducted in nine countries across five continents, with a total of 8,530 respondents from both developed and developing markets.

“This global research clearly demonstrates that consumers across the world are embracing mobile as a key access point for their content and commerce needs,” says Andrew Bud, Global Chairman, MEF. “It also illustrates that mobile is an essential platform for companies wishing to drive consumer engagement and monetise their goods, services and digital products.”

This change in consumer habits – and as a consequence, the increasing focus placed on mobile by a growing number of companies – is the reason why now is the right time for MEF to expand its mission to include the entire mobile content and commerce ecosystem. The fact that organisations such as The Coca-Cola Company, A&N Media and Barwa Bank have joined MEF reflects both the evolution of the organisation and the industry as a whole.

“As a global organisation with strong local representation, MEF is ideally placed to shape the industry, connect thought leaders, drive monetisation opportunities and provide competitive advantage for mobile content and commerce leaders,” said Rimma Perelmuter, Executive Director, MEF. “Over the past 10 years, MEF has helped to grow mobile content into the $36 billion industry it is today, assisting its members in navigating the complexities of the channel and capitalise on its opportunities.”

More recently, companies from a range of verticals have contacted MEF because they are interested in leveraging its expertise, skills and global network. These approaches were fuelled by MEF’s already deep engagement in mobile commerce. Over the past 18 months, the organisation has led a global mobile commerce initiative promoting the enormous commercial potential of the mobile channel. This work includes a partnership with ASC X9, the US technical group that develops financial industry standards, to establish privacy and security standards to advance m-Commerce. Concerns about security were cited by an average of 27% of respondents across all markets surveyed as a reason why they did not make more purchases using their mobile devices.

“We look forward to working with all of our members, be they mobile operators, content owners, brands or financial institutions, to ensure the delivery of a robust and trusted mobile commerce experience for all consumers,” concluded Perelmuter.


• Asia-Pac mobile commerce hot-spot 74% of respondents in Singapore said they access the mobile web on a daily basis, while 84% have already adopted mobile as part of their purchasing process by using their device to either research or buy goods. The majority of mobile purchases are digital goods (40%), but physical goods constitute a notable part, with 15% of consumers having bought electronic goods via mobile. Mobile banking is also clearly establishing itself in this market, with 32% regularly checking their balance via mobile and almost one-fifth (18%) paying bills on a mobile device.

In Indonesia, 63% of respondents had sent airtime remittances via mobile. Among those in Indonesia that have bought something on their mobile, 19% have done so through a retailer mobile store front. 41% have bought items via their network operator in the last six months.

• Latin Americans prepared to spend In Latin America, mobile commerce is taking off, with 20% of consumers in this region prepared to spend over £200/200 Reais on mobile purchases, double the next closest region (India at 10%). This continent is also seeing the highest tide of consumers turning away from fixed-line access, with 41% claiming to use fixed-line internet less often than 18 months ago. This trend is not symptomatic of waning interest in internet access: 84% of consumers now access the mobile web daily, with 37% spending five hours each day connected.

Mobile banking is not yet enjoying the same levels of uptake in Latin America: while 34% have topped up a mobile wallet, over half of respondents had not used any mobile banking or financial services.

• Despite security concerns, more than one-third of North Americans pay on mobile North America holds a steady middle ground in mobile purchasing, with 38% having paid for items via their mobile network operator in the last six months. It is also clear that significant numbers of consumers in the region are embracing the mobile web (41%), retailer mobile storefront (11%) and social media page (9%) as points of purchase. These figures could perhaps increase if security concerns were addressed, as 26% of consumers cited lack of trust in the security as a reason for not making purchases more often on their mobile.

• High levels of web users but reluctance around m-purchase in Middle East Despite a high number of users accessing mobile web (72% in Qatar and 67% in Egypt), consumers appear reluctant to buy via mobile. Egypt had the highest share of respondents not making purchases (42%), while Qatar was third highest with 34%. However, there appears to be little concern about purchases more closely linked to the device: 58% of respondents in Egypt have sent airtime remittance, second only to Indonesia.

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