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Mobile and Social Media Shopping Continues to Grow

Andrew Martins
Andrew Martins

A study commissioned by PayPal examines the latest global mobile commerce trends.

  • Mobile shopping is on the rise, according to a new study of 22,000 shoppers from around the world, as 78% said they’ve shopped via smartphone in the past six months.
  • Though mobile commerce is trending upward, 63% of the 4,600 business owners polled said they were able to accept mobile payments through their own channels.
  • Researchers found that women were more likely to shop through their smartphones than men, with 48% of women preferring that method, while 39% of men said the same.

Sleek, fast and powerful, today’s smartphones can instantly close the gap between far-flung relatives or broadcast pictures of your cat on the ‘gram. In recent years, these miniscule machines have also become a handheld portal to your favorite retailers, allowing users to shop to their heart’s content wherever they are. According to a recent study commissioned by PayPal, mobile commerce is not only growing at a global scale, but also transcends generational and platform divides.

Conducted by Ipsos from July 23 to Aug. 25, 2019, the 2019 mCommerce Index interviewed 22,000 consumers ages 18 to 74 who own smartphones, as well as 4,602 “business influencers or decision-makers who sell or take payments online to consumers and businesses” from 11 countries. Researchers said the purpose of the study was to “measure the gap between consumer adoption of mobile commerce and the businesses that are actually optimizing for it.”

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Despite the wide age gap and potential cultural differences that crop up in a sample size that large, researchers found that 78% of the consumers polled have shopped on their smartphones in the last six months. While that figure should largely be seen as a positive for businesses, researchers also learned that just 63% of merchants have optimized their mobile shopping channels to accept mobile payments. 

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“That’s a 15-percentage-point gap in businesses who are missing out by not taking advantage of the explosive growth of mobile commerce,” wrote Chris Morse, PayPal’s senior director of mobile commerce research. While offering an optimized mobile shopping experience may not be a priority for a business’s survival, doing so could result in “fewer abandoned carts and sales from 15% more potential customers,” he continued.

Global implications of mobile commerce adoption

While most consumers reported using their smartphones to shop, each major continent represented in the study had clear frontrunners in mobile commerce adoption.

According to researchers, India had the highest mobile commerce usage in Asia, with 70% of Indian respondents saying they actually preferred to shop on their smartphones. Interestingly enough, Indian business owners understand the importance of catering to this growing market, with 81% of respondents reporting that they’ve worked to optimize their business’s mobile shopping experience. India is the only leading country where business adoption is higher than consumer preference.

In the European market, 83% of Italian shoppers make online purchases through their smartphones. Unlike India, however, only 65% of Italian shops have a mobile-optimized website or app. Over in North America, the United States unsurprisingly leads the way in mobile commerce trends, with 72% of respondents saying they’d shopped from their phones before. Despite the growing trend, researchers said the U.S. had the second lowest figure in business optimization for mobile shoppers, as only 57% of businesses said they offered such an experience.

The lack of an optimized mobile shopping experience can lead to lost revenue for businesses. According to researchers, 21% of respondents said the main reason consumers abandon their mobile purchases is because the business doesn’t offer their preferred payment method. More than half (53%) of respondents said they used PayPal for mobile purchases, with 44% saying they’ve used their credit cards to complete mobile transactions.

Security concerns for mobile shoppers

While online shopping continues to grow, security breaches remain a major risk. As such, researchers said security and trust were “significant considerations in consumers’ mobile purchasing decisions.” Just over half of global consumer respondents (51%) said they would be “less likely to engage with mobile commerce due to security concerns.”

While security is a common concern for online consumers, shoppers in some countries were less worried about it than others. According to the study, 28% of Japanese respondents said they would reconsider shopping on a company’s mobile website or app if it had a security issue in the past. Researchers said Japan was an outlier, however, as 64% of U.K., 63% of Australian and 58% of U.S. respondents said they would reconsider a company’s mobile shopping platform in such a case.

Business owners told researchers that they were also concerned with mobile security, citing it as a main reason why they don’t optimize their mobile shopping experiences in the first place. Approximately 1 in 5 merchants told researchers that they were hesitant to do so because they wanted to make sure customer data was safe, Morse wrote.

Image Credit: Sushiman / Getty Images
Andrew Martins
Andrew Martins
Staff Writer
Andrew Martins has written more than 300 articles for and Business News Daily focused on the tools and services that small businesses and entrepreneurs need to succeed. Andrew writes about office hardware such as digital copiers, multifunctional printers and wide format printers, as well as critical technology services like live chat and online fax. Andrew has a long history in publishing, having been named a four-time New Jersey Press Award winner.