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PayPal, ARA: Retailers Must Respond To M-commerce

Mobile commerce on the rise

By Michelle Hammond
Friday, 25 March 2011

Mobile commerce is revolutionising the retail sector, a new report says, with 68% of Australian consumers planning to use mobile devices for transactions and payments in the future.


The report, launched by PayPal in partnership with the Australian Retailers Association, shows the mobile commerce market in Australia hit $155 million in total payments in 2010, while PayPal’s mobile payment volume grew 14 times the previous figure.


The research was conducted by research agency The Nielsen Company, which surveyed more than 500  Australian consumers, although the mobile commerce results are based on 165 online shoppers from mobile devices.

According to the report, 10% of PayPal’s 3.6 million active consumer accounts completed transactions on mobile devices in the last quarter of 2010, up from 1% in 2009.


Frerk-Malte Feller, PayPal managing director for Australia, expects the retail industry to see more change in the next three years than it has seen in the last decade.


“In the last quarter, our merchants have enjoyed a 25% month-on-month increase in total mobile payment volumes,” Feller says.


Jennifer Cromarty, deputy executive director of the Australian Retailers Association, says now more than ever, retailers must have a presence wherever their customers are including in store, online or on their mobiles.


According to the report, the most popular time for mobile shopping is when consumers are in transit, with 76% citing convenience as the main reason for transacting on the go.


However, the report also identifies growth barriers for mobile commerce, namely consumers’ concerns around the inadequacy of current security measures for mobile transactions.


Internet security software provider AVG recently issued a warning regarding the risks associated with mobile devices, urging users to adopt data encryption software.


The PayPal and ARA report reveals usability is also a key concern for consumers, with almost half of respondents claiming the screen size is too small and difficult to use.


But despite these drawbacks, Feller says retailers that offer a fully optimised end-to-end mobile experience will benefit from the “true value” of mobile commerce.


“Today, a customer can stand in a bricks-and-mortar store, scan an item, price compare, and read reviews online,” he says.


“Customers have a newfound power and the tools to make intelligent purchase decisions. The technology is here, the consumer demand is here, and the time is right for Australia’s retailers to embrace multichannel strategies.”


On the back of the PayPal and ARA report comes another report from jobs site SEEK, with new research revealing the number of visits from jobseekers searching on their mobile phones has grown by more than 245% in a year.


According to the report, visits to SEEK via mobile devices are currently at more than $1 million visits per month, with almost 900,000 of those visits opting to use the SEEK optimised mobile site.


SEEK product director Doug Blue says he expects this trend to continue as more jobseekers utilise their mobiles to search for jobs.


“Our research shows more than two out of three Australians are keeping an eye out for a new job in 2011 and, with the growth of smart phones, it’s not surprising to see more and more people using their mobiles to job hunt,” Blue says.


Meanwhile, Budget airline Jetstar has announced plans to allow customers to book flights online using PayPal, enabling flight bookings via mobiles.

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