Early-mover mobile device users are keen to use mobile payments

New research from Accenture shows that nearly half (45%) of the most active mobile device users would welcome the opportunity to pay for goods and services using their mobile phone, despite the fact that 73% expressed significant privacy and identity theft concerns.

To gain insight into consumers’ practices and attitudes regarding mobile commerce, Accenture surveyed so-called ‘tech forward’ consumers from 11 countries, early adopters of digital devices that connect to the internet, who use at least four internet-connected devices and at least four internet services.

Consumers in Asia were the most enthusiastic about mobile commerce. Overall, 69% of survey respondents in Asia indicated they favoured using mobile phones for most payments, led by Chinese consumers (76%) and India (75%, followed by Korea (56%) and Japan (47%).

Outside of Asia, the next highest positive response was in Brazil, where 70% of consumers favoured using mobile phones for most payments. In the US and Europe, combined, however, only 26% of respondents were interested in using mobile phones for most payments.

When survey participants were asked if they had used a mobile phone to make purchases in the past six months, nearly half (47%) of tech forward consumers in China indicated they had, followed by Korea (42%) and Japan (33%).

Depending on the geographic region, tech forwards are also in the early stages of using barcode or NFC technology to interact with their shopping environment. In Asia, 38% of consumers surveyed had scanned a product’s barcode while shopping to get additional information; 36% had displayed a digital ticket for admission to an event or to board a flight; and 31% had purchased an item or received a coupon from a ‘smart poster’ containing an electronic tag or barcode.

A majority (64%) of consumers surveyed indicated they would use gift cards and coupons delivered directly to their mobile phones, led by Chinese respondents (94%) Korean respondents (91%) and Indian respondents (76%).

Globally, 79% of the consumers surveyed indicated they would redeem those coupons when checking out of a store, compared with 77% who said they would use coupons that had to be clipped from magazines.

Asked what they would do if they received a coupon on their mobile phone for the equivalent of a $10 gift card (expressed in the local currency) for a store where they do not usually shop: 77% of all respondents indicated they would redeem the coupon at the store that issued the card for the full amount; 69% indicated they would exchange the gift card for $7 cash added to their digital wallet or bank account; 68% would exchange the card for $7 in mobile voice minutes or reduced phone charges; and 67% would exchange it for a $7 gift card for use in a store where they usually shop.

Nearly three quarters (73%) of the global respondents indicated that using a mobile phone for payments makes them worry about their privacy. Altogether, 70% said that mobile phone payments increase the risk of identity theft and fraud.

Regardless of these concerns, 62% of consumers surveyed who typically use a credit card for non-telco-related monthly payments said they would use their mobile phone to pay their bill, if they were to receive a 20% discount.

More than half (59%) said they would welcome receiving money-off promotions based on their past purchases. A further 47% said they would welcome receiving personalised mobile phone ads when they are within a few steps of the promoted product or service. And 69% indicated they would gladly accept mobile phone ads sent to their phones as part of their service contract in exchange for lower mobile phone usage fees.

When asked what types of companies would play a significant role in enabling consumers to make payments or process coupons by mobile phone, most respondents (59%) thought that role would fall to credit card companies, followed by wireless operators (54%), software companies (52%), large retailers (52%) and device makers (48%).

“Mobile commerce, which encompasses mobile banking, such as checking balances or paying bills over a mobile phone, plus coupons, promotions, redeemable gift cards, loyalty points, and more, is poised to drive huge changes in the way we shop and pay for goods and services,” said Andy Zimmerman, director, mobility services, Accenture.

“We can expect a convergence of traditional and alternative currencies, and it has huge implications on the entire in-store retail experience. While the survey indicates there are issues to address in terms of privacy and security, these findings are good news for mobile network operators because consumers have requirements they look to operators, technology vendors, or financial institutions to address.”