3 barriers affecting mobile commerce adoption

by Alex Anderson on 23 August 2012

Mobile commerce (mCommerce) is huge and growing rapidly, as visualised by this rather informative infographic. However, if you are like me and just don't like infographics here are some highlights:

  • Smartphone penetration is currently at about 51% in the UK
  • 54% of smartphone users are now using their mobiles to access websites
  • 38% of smartphone users have made a purchase on their phone
  • Fashion has seen the biggest growth in mobile orders

These trends are set to continue & grow. However there are issues inherent in mobiles which are affecting mCommerce adoption.  In our recent study into mCommerce we found these barriers were centered around three key issues:


Most of our participants worried about the possibility of having their phones hacked or infected by viruses; issues that could lead to their personal or card details being intercepted. They felt more exposed than when using their PC’s. Whether the 'lack' of security on mobiles is real or perceived there are steps  you can take to allay user's fears. Icons that represent security like padlocks or a security accreditation like 'Veri sign' are simple ways or doing this. Such methods are surprisingly sparse.

Screen size

The size of the screen makes it difficult to appreciate the detail of some products, such as clothes and furniture. Consequently, many of our participants expressed a reluctance to complete purchases of such items if they were unfamiliar with them. Screen sizes are gradually improving as is their quality but if you are selling a product which is visually complex try to help your customer. Have good zoom features for any images or an option to send images to a desktop to view on a larger scale.


The study also identified a significant level of reluctance amongst users due to a worry that something might go wrong in the middle of a transaction. Consumers are less likely to engage in transactions that involve payment while on the go because of the fear of “have I paid or haven’t I?” This problem is one of the more difficult to plan for as phone connections are never 100% reliable. However, there is no reason you cannot explain this. "If you are worried about losing your connection halfway though payment, don't worry! We will let you know if payment went though" - A simple notification would suffice. If you want to find out more about mCommerce you can find the full report here. Also, if you know of or have experienced any issues that have affected your mobile shopping experience, please let us know!

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