There was once a time when people were nervous about shopping via their mobile phones, but it seems those days are well and truly over. PayPal Australia alone is processing more than 1,000 mobile transactions an hour.
Picture by AutisticMajor
That's unsurprising given the high penetration of Internet-enabled mobile phones in Australia. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 9.7 million Australians have access to the Internet via their mobile phones.
PayPal is projecting that local sales via mobile sites will top $140 million this year, with growth of 430 per cent year on year. Perhaps predictably, it has formed partnerships with three major local group deal sites (Cudo, Groupon and Spreets); every time I turn around there seems to be a new group deal option out there, but having the ability to pay for offers on the go certainly makes sense.
Where mobile commerce could use some improvement is in actually taking advantage of mobile devices. For instance, if you're purchasing tickets for a concert or event on your phone, it makes far more sense to deliver the ticket directly to the phone than to force you to print it, have it mailed or pick it up. We've seen that model with some cinemas and smaller promoters, and Ticketek is promising to introduce it soon.
That said, the biggest advantage of a mobile phone when shopping isn't in being able to order goods on it directly. It's still in the simple ability to compare the price of something you're about to buy in a real-world store with competitors.
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