Mobile devices are slowly gaining ground as the preferred media for e-commerce, a KPMG survey found recently.
Compared with only 18 months ago, the global percentage of respondents who have used their mobile device for banking has more than doubled from 19% to 46%, while the percentage that have used it to buy goods and services has gone from 10% to 28%.
This surge is being led by the world's fastest-developing economies. In China, 77% of respondents say they have used their mobiles for banking and 44% for retail transactions, while in India 38% are using them to shop, and 43% for financial business.
Privacy a Big Issue
But, despite their growing familiarity with mobile commerce, many Chinese and Indian consumers remain deeply worried about risking their privacy, a concern they share with much of the world.
More than 90% of respondents in South Korea, France, South Africa, Slovakia, Romania, Brazil and Russia as well as India and China said they were concerned over privacy and security online, in many cases more now than 18 months ago. Respondents in the Czech Republic and the Netherlands are the most relaxed about this issue, but even here, more than seven out of 10 said it is a matter of concern.
"Compared with our last survey, which used data from late 2008, the 2010 survey shows
conclusively that the mobile Internet is rapidly opening up an entirely new global marketplace," said Gary Matuszak, Global Chair, Information, Communications and Entertainment.
The study found that people are increasingly willing to pay for high-value content. Organisations that can provide high quality material in an imaginative and user-friendly way will be able to generate significant revenues.
"But the twin perceptions of inadequate privacy and poor security are definitely uppermost in consumers' minds, and may be holding back the further development of the Internet as a commercial tool. Consumers around the world see solving these issues as a joint responsibility of service providers, who should improve systems and be more transparent in their reporting on security matters, and regulators, who should introduce privacy and security policies that address the new challenges arising from evolving mobile technology."
More People Willing to Pay
A major challenge for content providers has been how to turn their internet presence into revenue, but these survey results suggest that consumers may be getting used to the idea that they should pay something for what they consume.
Globally, 43% of respondents said they are now willing to pay for access to frequently used online content. Among the Asia-Pacific countries, this rises to 59%, with China and India the clear global leaders at 63% and 65%.
Among those willing to pay for access, the most popular types of content which people would pay for are video, chosen by 56%, and music, chosen by 53%. Paid-for music is especially popular among the young, with 61% of 16-24 year-olds saying they would be prepared to pay.
Asia-Pacific Leads in Mobile Use
Throughout the report, there are some striking differences between online usage and attitudes in the Asia–Pacific countries and those of Europe and the Americas, with Asia-Pacific consumers much more likely to be heavy users of mobile online services. Even within Europe, there is a clear difference between Western European countries and those of Central and Eastern Europe.
Despite the surge in mobile use, KPMG says it sees no signs that those consumers who currently have landline connections are giving them up. Globally, 84% said they still have a landline, although they now use it mainly as an internet connection, rather than for voice calls.