Mobile shopping record expected to snap on Cyber Monday

by Phil Hornshaw

Last Friday might have been the biggest shopping day of the year – aptly named Black Friday – but if you’re looking for deals online, the Monday after Thanksgiving is the day for which you want to wait.

This year’s Cyber Monday sales are expected to set records among one particular segment of online shoppers: those using mobile devices. According to a survey conducted by Wakefield Research, about 70 percent of mobile device owners expect to make, or have already made, more purchases from those devices than during the holiday season of 2010. The survey had 409 respondents and was conducted from Nov. 8 to Nov. 14.

PC World has the story, which states that the survey found that while more shoppers are spending more, they’re still not necessarily buying big-ticket items using their smartphones. The most expensive purchases made on the devices by survey respondents averaged about $274, but 32 percent of respondents said they hadn’t spent more than $100 on any one item purchased using a smartphone or tablet. The survey also found that men tended to spend more on items on average: the most expensive average purchase price for men was $312, while for women it was $222.

Much like the Cyber Monday shopping deals themselves, the reason shoppers are using smartphones to snag new items is the ease and comfort afforded by those devices. While heading out on Black Friday is a (fairly horrific) affair that requires getting up early and braving some insane crowds – plus running the risk of getting pepper-sprayed by other possibly insane customers, as happened in Los Angeles this weekend – Cyber Monday is significantly easier to handle.

The survey found that 44 percent of respondents said they feel more comfortable with purchasing items through mobile devices, which contributed to their using them for their shopping. Another 35 percent said the ease of using the devices was why they opted for using them more.

But there are still some problems with shopping on mobile devices, and not all tablet and smartphone owners are snapping up the opportunity to use them for shopping. Security is still a big concern and was cited by 32 percent of respondents, and another 32 percent said issues like not being able to get full product descriptions on smaller screens keep them doing more shopping on their devices. Slow or weak Internet connections also had an effect on mobile shopping, the survey found.

Overall, though, it appears as though as mobile devices mature, more users are willing to make them a bigger part of their routines. Internet shopping has grown significantly over the last decade or so, but suffered from many of the same concerns that mobile shopping is facing today. If the past is any indication, the two factors that will likely drive even more mobile sales are people growing more familiar and more comfortable with the technology, and app and device makers waylaying the security fears surrounding them. Both of those things seem to be making significant strides forward even now, so expect mobile spending to continue to climb right along with them.