Almost half of the most active mobile device users around the world would be prepared to pay for goods and services using their phones, despite only one in four in the US and Europe trusting the new technology.
Accenture questioned 1,100 ‘tech-forward’ people — those who use at least four different types of internet sites or services and own at least four internet-connected devices — in 11 countries to find out their practices and attitudes towards mobile commerce.
Consumers in Asia were the most enthusiastic about mobile commerce in general. Overall, 69% of those questioned in Asia indicated they favoured using mobile phones for most payments, led by Chinese consumers (76%), India (75%), Korea (56%) and Japan (47%).
Outside of Asia, the next highest positive response was in Brazil, where 70% of consumers favoured using mobile phones for most payments. In the US and Europe combined, however, only 26% of respondents favored using mobile phones for most payments.
When survey participants were asked if they had used a mobile phone to make purchases in the past six months, nearly half (47%) of tech forward consumers in China indicated they had, followed by Korea (42%) and Japan (33%).
When asked what types of companies would play a significant role in enabling consumers to make payments or process coupons by mobile phone, most respondents (59%) thought that role would fall to credit card companies, followed by wireless operators (54%), software companies (52%), large retailers (52%) and device makers (48%).
However, the survey also found that nearly three-quarters (73%) of the global respondents indicated that using a mobile phone for payments makes them worry about their privacy. Seventy per cent said that mobile phone payments increase the risk of identity theft and fraud.
Regardless of these concerns, 62% of consumers surveyed who typically use a credit card for non-telco-related monthly payments said they would use their mobile phone to pay their bill, if they were to receive a 20% discount.
Andy Zimmerman, director of mobility services at Accenture, said that while the issue of security needed to be addressed, the future was bright for mobile networks.
“Mobile commerce — which encompasses mobile banking, such as checking balances or paying bills over a mobile phone, plus coupons, promotions, redeemable gift cards, loyalty points, and more — is poised to drive huge changes in the way we shop and pay for goods and services,” said Mr Zimmerman.
“We can expect a convergence of traditional and alternative currencies, and it has huge implications on the entire in-store retail experience,” he added. “While the survey indicates there are issues to address in terms of privacy and security, these findings are good news for mobile network operators because consumers have requirements they look to operators, technology vendors, or financial institutions to address.”
The results of the survey mirror a similar poll of French consumer attitudes to electronic payments, which found that the majority are not currently interested in mobile payments services, despite recent government funding for the expansion of the Nice Cityzi pilot to eight more cities and plans by French mobile network operators to sell one million NFC phones this year.
A survey of UK consumers this week also found that the majority are uncomfortable with the idea of using their phone to make contactless payments while a US survey has found that less than one in ten consumers would be willing to pay for the ability to make mobile payments.
A 2010 study conducted by telecoms technology supplier Alcatel-Lucent with members of its Youth Lab, a group of teenagers and young adults from ten countries around the world, however, found that 89% per cent of the participants would be willing to pay a monthly fee to get a mobile wallet service.