About 37% of all smartphone users have used their handsets to make purchases. According to a survey conduction by US-based Compete, users are more comfortable than ever before in using their phones for shopping, but poor mobile site functionality is still a turnoff for many. Nonetheless, the research suggests that mobile commerce (m-commerce) is ready to explode in 2010. The Smartphone Intelligence survey provides behavioral and survey-based insight into how consumers are using their iPhones, Blackberries, Android devices and other smartphones.

“As manufacturers show off the hottest new devices at CES, our research shows that they’d be wise to consider the complete mobile shopping experience and how it varies by individual and device,” said Danielle Nohe, director of consumer technologies for Compete. “We’re seeing notable behavior differences across devices, so, for example, users of the Android operating system share different characteristics than Blackberry and iPhone enthusiasts. As manufacturers and marketers better understand how each group actually uses their devices, there’s a huge potential in 2010 for mobile commerce to explode.”

Key findings from Compete’s Q3 2009 Smartphone Intelligence survey include:

  • 37 percent of smartphone owners have purchased something non-mobile with their handset in the past 6 months.
  • 19 percent of total smartphone owners have purchased music from their device, 14 percent have purchased books, DVDs, or video games and 12 percent have purchased movie tickets.
  • The most popular mobile shopping-related activities are still research related – 41 percent of iPhone users and 43 percent of Android users are most likely to check sale prices at alternative locations from their mobile phones while they are shopping.
  • The second most likely activity is accessing consumer reviews, with 39 percent of iPhone owners and 31 percent of Android owners investigating reviews from their handset before they purchase.

While m-commerce is poised for explosive growth in 2010, consumers are still more likely to abandon mobile purchasing on sites that are not optimized for the on-the-go experience, similar to shopping cart abandonment in the early days of e-commerce. Compete’s Q3 Smartphone Intelligence survey found that eight percent of smartphone owners that tried to purchase a product on their device were unable to do so. 45 percent of those that abandoned the process reported that they did so because the site would not load, and an additional 38 percent left the site because it was not developed specifically for smartphone users.

“Retailers are beginning to recognize that smartphone use is no longer limited to an exclusive group of tech savvy consumers. As these devices proliferate – and people grow more comfortable transacting, site owners must redesign around mobile shopping ease-of-use. We see this as a win for both consumers and businesses,” continued Nohe.

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