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Nielsen: 9 Mln Have Bought On Mobile Phones

Nielsen: 9 Mln Have Bought On Mobile Phones

For years, we’ve been told that the era of “mobile commerce” is coming, wherein we will all routinely use our mobile phones—or other portable wireless devices—to pay for goods and services. Now, The Nielsen Company says that mobile commerce is starting to leave the fairy-tale world of jet packs, flying cars, and instantaneous teleportation: according to data the company released today at the Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition in Chicago, some 9 million U.S. mobile phone users have already used their phones to pay for merchandidze or services—and nearly half (49 percent) of U.S. mobile phone users with data plans expect to do so in the future.

“For many of the millions of consumers who are already shopping online or over landline phones, mobile commerce is an obvious and useful extension of that opportunity,” said Nielsen “director of insights” Nic Covey, in a statement. “As more mobile commerce services become available and consumers develop a greater trust for phone-based transactions, we expect commerce to be an increasingly important part of the mobile experience next year and beyond.”

The data comes from Nielsen Mobile’s monthly survey of over 30,000 U.S. wireless phone users, and finds that mobile Web sites are the most common way for users to make purchases via mobile phones, with some 5 million mobile phone users tapping into mobile shopping and auction sites—an increase of 73 percent from April 2007. Auction site eBay was the most popular of the bunch, garnering 3.4 unique mobile shoppers in April 2008.

The survey also found men are somewhat more likely than women to engage in mobile commerce, with roughly 53 percent of mobile transactions being conducted by men. Adults between the ages of 25 to 34 are also the most likely mobile buyers.

The survey also found that purchasing items via text message is also becoming more common, with 6.5 million U.S. mobile phone users reporting they’ve used text messaging to pay for an item.

Still, mobile commerce still has a long way to go. Today’s 9 million mobile phone users who have conducted a mobile commerce transaction represents only about 3.6 percent of the entire U.S. mobile phone-using population. And the top concern among mobile phone users not participating in mobile commerce? Security. More than 40 percent of data users who do not engage in mobile commerce said security was their biggest reason for not using it, with 21 percent saying they worried about being charged for the airtime, and another 21 percent saying they simply didn’t trust that their transaction would go through.

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