gartner-mobile-shopping-research-mobilestance-2-copy.jpgStamford, Ct-based reach firm Gartner, Inc recently published a study exploring consumer attitudes regarding Mobile Shopping services – both in the U.S. and U.K. markets.

The report, entitled “M-Commerce Retail Consumer Shopping Preferences,” surveyed over “2,000 consumers in the U.S. and the U.K. to assess the likelihood that they would undertake a variety of mobile shopping activities, from price checking and product browsing to ordering and paying for a product from a mobile phone.”

Gartner claims that “few of the more-likely shopping activities that consumers will want to do on their mobile phones, such as finding stores and checking prices, will be provided by portals and price comparison engines.” The research firm also released the following “Key Findings” from the study:

  • Checking Prices and Finding Stores both popular mobile usage cases. Both “activities were in the ‘top three activities’ to be done on a mobile phone in both the U.S. and U.K.”
  • Consumers are more open to mobile “comparison shopping” verses actual mobile commerce. Twenty-four (24%) percent of U.S. consumers were “likely” use their mobile handset to “check prices”, versus twelve percent (12%) were likely to “buy on a mobile phone. U.K. consumers posted similar responses (eighteen percent check price, eleven percent buy).”
  • Consumers relatively open to receiving mobile promotional offers. “Openness to receiving promotions on a mobile phone ranked third in the U.S. and fourth in the U.K. Twenty percent (20%) of U.S. and sixteen percent (16%) of U.K. respondents stated that they would ‘be likely to want to receive promotions’ on their mobile phones.”
  • A18-27 represents current “Sweet Spot” for mobile shopping services. U.S. respondents ages 18 to 27 “were, on average, 1.98 times more likely to do mobile shopping activities than… respondents (ages 43 to 61). In the U.K. this trend is even more pronounced, with A18-27 “average 2.63 times more likely to do mobile shopping activities than their boomer counterparts.”

Analysis: For many leading and diverse business categories such as Consumer Package Goods (CPG) and Quick Service Restaurants (QSR), Mobile Shopping services (including related activities such as Mobile Couponing) represents the critical “last mile” in the evolution of Mobile Marketing.

That said, as is typical in research pieces such as the Gartner study, the publicly released research data often portrays too rosy a picture… as to not do so would limit the study’s appeal to its target customers (Venture Funds and well financed start-ups).

On its face, the data suggests that roughly one in four US consumers are “likely to” engage in mobile comparison shopping, and one in eight are “likely to” engage in mobile purchases of hard goods (interestingly enough, both data points are higher in the U.S. than in the U.K.). However, when pressed, Gartner reveals a more challenging scenario for prospective m-Commerce merchants. The research firm reveals that “the mobile phone is too complex for users to feel comfortable using them to buy physical goods”, and that “in addition to complexity, the second-biggest reason not to shop on the phone is fear of having their location tracked,” this according to Both seem highly plausible – but rather conspicuously, neither of these two highly revealing insights are identified by Gartner as “Key Findings” in their press release announcing the study.

We find ourselves in agreement with Gartner’s recommendation that “M-commerce technology vendors should differentiate themselves by providing multichannel capabilities, such as enabling mobile-phone-generated orders to be picked up in a store or allowing consumers to save mobile-phone-created shopping sessions to be later continued on a Web browser.” While both evolutionary “half-measures” rely on other, legacy commerce channels (such as online or point of sale), both seem a good fit as “transitionary tactics” towards the brass ring that is the “fully fledged” m-Commerce transaction model.

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