One in Five U.S. Adult Consumers Now Using Mobile Commerce | MMA Global

One in Five U.S. Adult Consumers Now Using Mobile Commerce

May 19, 2010

Mobile Marketing Association – Luth Research Survey Released in Conjunction with New, Industry-Standard Definition of M-Commerce

New York, London, UK, Singapore & Sao Paulo: May 19, 2010 - The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) ( and its official research partner, Luth Research (, today released May 2010 U.S. Mobile Consumer Briefing, MMA’s monthly survey of U.S. adult consumers about their mobile marketing behaviors and opinions. Available exclusively to MMA members, the new survey shows that approximately one in five U.S. adult mobile phone owners have used their cell phone for mobile commerce (m-commerce) in the past month.

In conjunction with the survey’s release, the MMA also announced that its Mobile Commerce committee has release a new definition of m-commerce: “Mobile Commerce is the one- or two-way exchange of value facilitated by a mobile consumer electronic device (e.g., mobile handset), which is enabled by wireless technologies and communication networks.” An industry-standard definition defines the scope of m-commerce services available in the industry and ensures that terminology is consistent between all parties. MMA’s Mobile Consumer Briefing research for May incorporated this new definition into its survey design, providing the market with an important first baseline of the extent of mobile commerce as now practiced in the U.S.

Based on Luth Research’s online panel, SurveySavvy™, each MMA U.S. Mobile Consumer Briefing collects answers from a demographically representative sample of more than 1,000 U.S. adult consumers. Conducted in mid-April, the survey asked consumers the following questions about their cell phone usage and their involvement with m-commerce, including:

  • Types of commercial transactions made by mobile phone in the past month
  • Accounts used to pay for these transactions
  • Which mobile media were used for these transactions (e.g., mobile Web, application)
  • The quality of consumers’ experience with m-commerce
  • Interest in different types of m-commerce within the next 12 months

The new survey found that 17 percent of respondents used their mobile phone to purchase applications, ringtones and other content. Significantly however, 6 percent used their phone to receive coupons or discounts and 6 percent used their mobile phone to purchase physical goods or non-mobile content or services, confirming that m-commerce has graduated to include more than just the purchase of digital content for the mobile phone itself.

The survey’s other key findings include:

  • BlackBerry and iPhone owners use m-commerce the most. More than half of iPhone owners and 34 percent of BlackBerry owners have purchased content for their smartphone.
  • Fifty-six percent of mobile content purchases were made through a carrier, and 43 percent used a bank or credit card account for payment.
    Adults ages 25-34 used their mobile phones for all transaction types significantly more than any other age group.
  • Across all categories of transaction types, most respondents considered m-commerce to be “secure and trustworthy.”

“The Consumer Briefing shows that mobile commerce is beginning to insert itself into the mainstream of U.S. commerce,” said Peter A. Johnson, vice president of market intelligence, MMA, and author of the study. “For several years, we’ve seen millions of people purchase ringtones, games and other apps. Now mobile consumers are branching out to use their mobile phone as a passport to other kinds of purchases, as well. This is a change not just in quantity, but quality, too. This strong and growing adoption highlights the reach, effectiveness and trustworthiness of the mobile channel for a wide variety of purchases, including physical goods and services.”

“With the widening scope of mobile capacity, mobile phone users will continue to integrate their phones for transactions beyond just purchasing content for their mobile phone,” said Jacqueline Rosales, EVP, Business Development & Client Service, Luth Research. “Marketers have a real opportunity to leverage the use of discounts and coupons as a key means to engaging with customers.”

Available exclusively to MMA members, each MMA Consumer Briefing includes a 2- to 3-page executive summary, all survey questions and up to 50 tables of detailed results. Survey responses are provided both in aggregate and in cross-tabulation by standard audience demographics, such as age, gender and income, as well as wireless carrier and handset manufacturer.

About the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA)
The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) is the premier global non-profit trade association established to lead the growth of mobile marketing and its associated technologies. The MMA is an action-oriented organization designed to clear obstacles to market development, establish mobile media guidelines and best practices for sustainable growth, and evangelize the use of the mobile channel. The more than 700 member companies, representing over forty countries around the globe, include all members of the mobile media ecosystem. The Mobile Marketing Association’s global headquarters are located in the United States and it has regional chapters including North America (NA), Europe (EUR), Latin America (LATAM), Middle East & Africa (MEA) and Asia Pacific (APAC) branches. For more information, please visit

About Luth Research
Founded in 1977, Luth Research is a San Diego-based market research firm that provides clients with forward-thinking market intelligence that moves businesses ahead in a competitive economy. Using its proprietary technology, data collection resources and research methods, including its online panel, SurveySavvyTM, the company helps businesses track emerging trends, measure message effectiveness and understand how consumers think and act. For more information, call (800) 465-5884.


Valerie Christopherson
Global Results Comm. (GRC)
P:+1 949 608 0276
E: [email protected]