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PayPal mCommerce Index Points To Missed Mobile Opportunity

PayPal Australia’s PayPal mCommerce Index, a biannual barometer on the state of mobile commerce in Australia, has launched today, identifying “a significant gap” between the mobile payments behaviour of consumers and business readiness to support mobile transactions.

Surveying the payment patterns and expectations of Australian smartphone users, the index found that 71 per cent of respondents use their mobile devices to make payments, with 22 per cent spending more than $500 per month via mobile.

However, just 49 per cent of online businesses are optimised to accept mobile payments, with 31 per cent of businesses stating they have no plans to optimise for mobile sales, while 26 per cent of online businesses have zero sales via mobile devices.

“Australia has one of the highest levels of mobile penetration globally, with 80 per cent of the Australian population owning a smartphone, so I was surprised to discover the low level of business readiness to accept sales effectively via mobile devices,” Libby Roy, PayPal Australia managing director, commented.

“The mobile payments landscape is fast evolving and the index reveals how habituated Australian consumers have become to mobile shopping, with more than a third of us making mobile payments at least once a week – a figure that jumps to 47 per cent for the under 35s.

“So, although online businesses may think they don’t need to optimise for mobile now, they will have to if they want to stay competitive in the near future.”

According to the index, 85 per cent of smartphone users aged 18-34 buy via mobile, compared to 35-49 year-olds at 73 per cent and over-50s at 52 per cent, with 47 per cent of younger Australians shopping on a mobile device at least once a week.

Australians shop on their mobile devices for the convenience (48 per cent), because it saves time (48 per cent) and because it’s easy (39 per cent).

Younger consumers are most annoyed when websites are not enabled for mobile (59 per cent), compared to 45 per cent for 35-49 year-olds and 28 per cent for over-50s.

Meanwhile, 46 per cent of respondents cited security as a barrier to mCommerce adoption.

Social commerce “has emerged as the new frontier for online commerce”, with 11 per cent of consumers reporting that they have made a purchase via a social platform in the past six months, with 7 per cent of businesses indicating they accept transactions via social media.

“It’s obvious that the early adopters in the business community are getting on board with social commerce as the business uptake at 7 per cent is not far behind consumer adoption at 11 per cent for this new way to buy and sell,” Roy commented.

“However, there’s a huge gap between the early adopters and the majority in the business community – with 34 per cent of Australian businesses having no social media presence at all, and 89 per cent of businesses stating they have no intention of accepting payments via social platforms within the next six months.”

Social media is a strong influencer, with 18 per cent of respondents buying something after seeing it on social media, rising to 24 per cent of respondents among the 18-34 age group, yet 28 per cent of businesses don’t believe their customers want to buy via social platforms.

Roughly half of respondents stated that security and safety is a concern with regard to purchasing through social platforms, with 59 per cent stating they don’t want their financial information linked to their social footprint.

Businesses’ security concerns are lower at 19 per cent, while, presenting a challenge for adoption, 25 per cent of businesses stated they don’t understand how purchasing via social media works.

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