Friday, February 19, 2010

Mobile Commerce Gets Attention at Mobile World Congress 2010

Apps (enabled by all the new smartphones) got most of the attention at Mobile World Congress. But Near Field Communications (NFC) also got a lot of attention with some trials going on and big projections from the market research firms for mobile commerce. At Mobile World Congress the GSM Association launched the first SIM-based NFC payment trial to drive NFC adoption. The trial included handset maker Samsung, wireless operator Telef√≥nica and financial companies Visa, G&D, Ingenico, ITN International and La Caixa. The companies loaded 400 Samsung Star NFC mobile phones with Telef√≥nica SIM cards from O2 and Visa’s mobile payment application and gave them to attendees to purchase goods.

ABI Research projects that in 2015, shoppers around the world are expected to spend about $119 billion on goods and services purchased via mobile phones. That number represents about 8% of the total e-commerce market. “Mobile online shopping is reaching critical mass,” says senior analyst Mark Beccue. “In the United States, mobile online shopping rose from $396 million in 2008 to $1.2 billion in 2009. While definitions of ‘mass market adoption’ vary, a more than threefold increase in one year indicates significant consumer interest." Noteworthy is that even that $1+ billion turnover in the US is dwarfed by the size of the mobile online shopping market in Japan, which exceeded $10 billion in 2009 alone. This market is growing solidly in Europe too, and is expected to outpace the US by the end of 2010.

In another ABI report, they project that in 2015 about 407 million people worldwide will carry out financial transactions with their banks using their mobile phones. Of those, some 66 million will be in North America. Beccue commented, “It’s not the North American market that is moving fastest to mobile banking: that crown goes to the Asia-Pacific region, which accounted for the lion’s share of the world’s 52.2 million mobile banking subscribers in 2009. The global number of subscribers more than doubled between 2008 and 2009, and is expected to almost double again in 2010. This growth can be seen everywhere, but Asia – led by India – is pushing it particularly hard.”

Do you feel comfortable using your phone to purchase goods? Microwave Journal editors David Vye and Richard Mumford were on site and will report their findings next week.

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