Mobile shopping is still some way off the levels of adoption seen on the web, according to two recent surveys, with concerns over mobile security paramount. Low-value transactions appear less threatening to consumers.

According to two surveys of US mobile phone users most consumers' preferences and choices when using their mobile phones for shopping remained largely unchanged between late 2007 and late 2008, indicating the barriers to mobile money services remain strong.

"Consistent from year to year, a little over one-half of all respondents are not interested in using their mobile phones to make purchases," says ABI Research senior analyst Jeff Orr.

"Transaction security was cited by 71 percent of mobile phone users as a major concern preventing wider uptake. As consumers become more comfortable with transaction security by establishing trust with transaction vendors, more emphasis will be placed on the speed of the transaction."

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However, on a more positive note more than half of all the respondents have purchased at least one ringtone, suggesting that low-value transactions are less threatening to consumers. Sales of iPhone applications from Apple's App Store are also welcomed. Respondents also showed some willingness to have mobile purchases added to their wireless phone bill.

Text marketing messages remain unpopular with consumers, although some indicated that they were open to inducements such as free content aimed at converting a message to a sale.

Senior analyst Mark Beccue adds, "As smartphone penetration increases, more merchants will introduce mobile shopping, spurring growth. Smart merchants will focus on the advantages of mobile, such as impulse shopping and real-time auctions."

The US Mobile Phone Purchase Trends surveys each sampled more than 1,000 mobile phone users in the US aged 14-59 and across a wide range of demographic profiles. They queried users' preferences with regard to a variety of mobile phone and content usage questions.