Recent research by IAB UK has found that smartphone ownership increased by 70 per cent between 2009 and 2010. IMS research suggests that smartphone shipments to Europe will top 200m within four years.

2010 was the year that retailers began to take mobile commerce seriously, with an increasing number of dedicated mobile commerce sites and apps being developed to attract the everyday smartphone user.

Simpson Carpenter earlier this year surveyed 1,100 smartphone owners to get a better idea of what physical products they are buying from their handsets, attitudes to mobile shopping and if they see themselves continuing to shop in this way.

The research found that mobile shoppers were highly satisfied with the process of shopping on their smartphone. More than a quarter (27%) of those surveyed have bought items including CDs, books, DVDs, clothes, hotel rooms, groceries and large appliances, while almost half (48%) expected to do so in the next 12 months. The area of fastest growth in the coming year were expected to be hotel rooms, large appliances and groceries.

Despite many people assuming that mobile commerce refers to mobile phones, only one third of buyers were actually shopping on the move, the remainder buying via a phone in a situation where they could have used a PC: 43% were at home, 13% at work and 10% at a friends house.

When asked what the biggest barriers to switching to mobile commerce as a regular means of purchasing, almost half (43%) said the small screen was a challenge, while a similar number (41%) said that the clarity of images can often be a problem. Connection speed (31%) and navigation and usability (28%) were also seen a issues, while just over one quarter (26%) admitted to concerns around the security of their financial details when buying via a smartphone.

The appetite for mobile commerce is certainly there… it remains a matter of time before the issues are a thing of the past and people become more likely to shop on their handsets regularly.

Please note the views expressed in this blog are the views of the author, Andre Brown and do not represent the view of Locayta, its employees or its shareholders. For more information about Locayta, visit www.locayta.com