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Who's Afraid of Mobile Phone Shopping?

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By Beth Pinsker, Editorial Director of dealnews

When it comes to holiday shopping, smartphone users are big teases. They browse, compare prices, read reviews, look for coupons, but they don't actually hit the "buy" button on their screens. What's keeping people — who are otherwise addicted to the utility of their devices — from actually purchasing anything of significance on their phones?

We recently took our dealnews camera to the Manhattan Mall to find out why people still seem to be afraid of buying more than ring tones and songs with their phones.

The shoppers we interviewed matched up with a recent national survey we conducted with Lightspeed Research that found that more than half of all shoppers said they were going to use their smartphones for some aspect of their holiday shopping. But when it comes down to it, only 15% said they would actually make a purchase on their phones.

Among the list of excuses for why most people will use smartphones for just about everything else, but not actual purchasing, the security concerns would seemingly be the chief cause. People worry that if their phone gets stolen, a thief would be able to access their information. They also worry that their credit card data will get intercepted somehow via the over-the-air signal. (Most people don't know that both computers and cell phones use the same SSL encryption technology for online shopping.) But surprisingly, security wasn't tops on the list for most people.

"We thought payment security would be real the real roadblock," says Naor Chazan, marketing director of Lightspeed Research, which has done several studies on mobile phone shopping. "But in an earlier study we did, we found that 47% said 'I prefer to shop on a regular PC because it's quicker, or easier to type.'"

Chazen expects the tipping point to come when phone connectivity speeds up, and apps get better optimized for purchasing, rather than just browsing. While that won't happen this holiday shopping season, stay tuned for Black Friday 2011. You might just be able to score all the best doorbusters from the parking lot.


Beth Pinsker is dealnews' Editorial Director. She was most recently the Editor of WalletPop.com, and has been a life-long bargain hunter. Follow her on Twitter — @bethpinsker. You can also sign up for an email alert for all dealnews features.



For more great holiday shopping coverage:

Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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