While retailers like David Jones, Kogan, Dick Smith and Harvey Norman perfect the art of online retailing, or e-tailing, a new survey of mobile phone users says smartphones are officially the new way to buy.

Using your phone like a wallet is not simply a space-saving idea, it offers shoppers time saving opportunities.

In keeping with our time-starved society’s mantra of convenience, convenience, convenience, mobile shopping has the ease of internet browsing – with plenty of added extras. The joyful element of actually walking into a shop is returned, without the stress of not knowing where to go, or what to buy. 

Mobile commerce is being fuelled by smart buying clubs such as Glamoo, which launched earlier this year in the UK and Italy, and uses unique GPRS technology to send bespoke, location-based offers. This means you don’t spend hours surfing online stores for the best price on an item, nor do you have to worry that it won’t be the right size or that it will be flawed when you receive it. You can simply walk into stores armed with your smartphone, check out the suitability of the item that has already been sourced in your location, and pay for it. Online retailing giants like Amazon, are also leading a revolution that has been predicted to take over from e-tailing.

The new study, carried out for Glamoo, says 3 million smartphone users in the UK already shop at least once a week on their mobiles, but they are limited to buying music, games and tickets, as well as some electronic items, because other traditional retail goods are still not widely available. 

60 per cent of those surveyed said payment security and the difficulty of using mobile sites were the main disadvantages. But 59 percent of users said they shopped on their mobiles to save time, while 31 per cent said it was for convenience. And 42 per cent said they would shop on their mobiles while in the passenger seat of a car and 28 per cent would do the same during their daily commute, according to UK magazine, Internet Retailing. 

Mobile shopping allows consumers to shop around more effectively with the limited time that they have, while using location services and price comparison data.

The survey also revealed that approximately a quarter of the UK population currently have a smartphone and that these are the people doing most of the mobile shopping, buying anything from groceries to foreign holidays.


Almost half of the women surveyed said they would pass on deals to friends and family, whilst a quarter of men would do the same. 69 percent of the people who said they would be driven to purchase by local offers were men, suggesting men love quick and easy bargains more than women.

Simone Ranucci Brandimarte, CEO of Glamoo said: “Mobile commerce is destined to transform today’s shopping experience beyond recognition. It’s not just the consumer who will benefit from these changes however; because brands will be able to interact directly with customers, increasing trust levels.”

In the UK, 29 percent of 18-34 years olds are said to be potentially the most prolific mobile shoppers with the south east having the highest penetration of mobile purchasers in the UK at 20 percent. 

Over the last year in the United States, m-commerce recorded a turnover  – the equivalent of A$2.39 billion – while in Japan it already represents 18 percent of electronic commerce. With mobile commerce growing rapidly, and analysts at ABI Research predicting that it will exceed A$129 billion worldwide by 2015, the buoyancy of the market is also confirmed by a number of strategic acquisitions that have occurred over the past 12 months, such as the acquisition of Activemedia Technology by 2ergo and RedLaser, iPhone’s barcode scanning application, by eBay, in order to exploit the potential of m-commerce.

According to analysts, Gartner Group, sales of smartphones will grow by 33 percent in 2010 and are expected to account for 43 percent of all mobile devices in 2013. It is also anticipated that in 2011, 50 percent of traffic will be voice traffic and the other 50 percent will be data. 

According to ComScore data, 33% of users now access the internet from a mobile device. Recent research shows that by 2012, the typical mobile user will use mobile internet two to three times more than today, and it is estimated that internet traffic will increase tenfold on an annual basis.


However, some shoppers are still being put off by the experience. Almost 60 percent said that payment security and difficult to use websites were the main deterrents when shopping on a mobile, and 70 percent of shoppers opted for PayPal as the more secure method of payment. 

In the run up to Christmas, consumers in the UK are said to be buying anything from groceries to gifts. Half of those with smartphones said they would buy gifts using their mobile phone this year and 44 percent of women said they would send gifts via their mobiles. 

Forget panic and pavement-pounding. Forget impersonal shopping by keyboard. The future is out there, and for those retailers and shoppers who pride themselves on being ahead of the curve, taking advantage of smartphone technology is essential.
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