IAB report shows most people shifting to mobile commerce

Research suggests mobile ads and social media play a big role in driving purchases

Chris Powell September 28, 2016

Mobile commerce is becoming “habitual” for consumers according to a new global report from IAB, with three-quarters of mobile internet users indicating that they have purchased a product or service via their smartphone or tablet in the past six months, and nearly one quarter saying they make weekly purchases.

The new report, A Global Perspective of Mobile Commerce, is based on an online survey of 3,800 people in 19 countries. Each respondent had purchased a product or service via a smartphone or tablet in the previous six months.

It found that convenience and value are the primary drivers of mobile commerce, with consumer satisfaction and momentum for future purchases remaining high. It also suggested that “key concerns” about security, privacy and the purchase experience need to be addressed in order to facilitate continued growth.

Apps are the most popular mobile purchase, with 43% of respondents listing them among their purchases, followed by fashion (41%), tickets (36%), toys and games (33%), digital entertainment products (32%) and physical entertainment products (30%).

The report also found regional variances, with fashion popular in European markets and apps the most popular purchase in North America. More public service payments occur via mobile in South America, while travel, food and home items are more popular in the Asia-Pacific region.

The report also indicates that mobile ads and social media play a key role in mobile purchases, with more than three-quarters (75%) of global mobile purchasers – and 81% of North American mobile purchasers – indicating that they have engaged with a mobile ad in the past six months.

On average, 33% of mobile purchasers said they have clicked on an ad to find more information, 28% have clicked to visit an advertiser’s website, and 21% clicked on an ad to make a purchase. In Canada, 41% of respondents indicated that they clicked on an ad, with 31% indicating that they clicked to visit an advertiser’s website.

More than one-third of Canadians (34%) said that they visited a website listed in an ad at another time, while more than one-quarter (27%) clicked on an ad to purchase the product or service and 23% shared the ad with others.

Social media is also a key component of online purchases, with 60% of all mobile purchasers finding new products via the channel and 36% indicating that they like to share their purchases and experiences online.

In North America, 77% of respondents said they have purchased a product or service via their mobile device in the past six months, while more than a quarter (26%) said they make two to three purchases per month using their mobile device.

A quarter of Canadian respondents indicated that they purchase products via their smartphone or tablet on a daily or weekly basis  – mirroring U.S. respondents – while 43% said they do so monthly (compared with 51% of U.S. respondents).

The report also notes that mobile purchases and payments account for nearly one-third (31%) of total monthly purchases, whether purchasing directly via a mobile device or paying in-store using their device.

While the report noted a “core contingent” of mature mobile shoppers – 57% having made mobile purchases for the more than a year – 43% have made their first mobile purchase within the past year. Austria, Peru and Colombia boast the most new adopters of mobile commerce.

While 80% of global respondents indicated that they were satisfied with their mobile purchase experience to date, that number rose to 89% and 87% for the U.K. and Canada respectively.

Nearly two-thirds (62%) of global respondents said that they plan to purchase more products and services via their smartphone in the next six months, with convenience (49%) and time-saving (46%) the key drivers of mobile purchases.

When asked why they purchased products or services via their smartphone, 62% of Canadian purchasers cited convenience as the leading factor, while 47% said it was to save time and 32% cited price.

The report also noted some “clear areas” in which consumers need to be supported and assured if mobile commerce is to reach its full potential, with 44% of mobile purchases citing “trust” as a barrier to purchasing more.