There's no doubt that mobile technology is taking off with more consumers using various devices to perform a greater number of functions by the day.
A few reasons are generally given for consumers not making even greater use of the technology. The first is generational: The young explore while older consumers stick with what they know, presumably desktop computing or, in the case of payments, cash or credit/debit cards. Another is experience: Consumers want to be able to have the same level of performance and access to information, etc. that they would have sitting at home in front of a PC.
New research conducted by MasterCard by Kelton Research, backs up some of the generation findings when it comes to using mobile devices to make purchases. While 62 percent of Americans who use a mobile phone are open to using them to make purchases, the numbers skew significantly based on age. Sixty-three percent of those between 18-34 are open to using their phone for this purpose while only 37 percent of those over 35 feel the same.
A previous survey conducted by MasterCard Advisors in 2010 found that the desire to use mobile phones for payments is growing among consumers under 30. In 2009, 15 percent used their mobile phone to buy something while that number jumped to 25 percent in 2010.
"Consumers are already living a mobile lifestyle so using their phones to make payments on a daily basis is a natural next step," said Mung Ki Woo, group executive, mobile at MasterCard Worldwide, in a press release.
Mr. Woo said 2011 marked "the beginning of the NFC (near field communications) mobile payments era, and consumers are eager to get their hands on the first commercial deployments in the U.S."
The MasterCard study found that consumers "identify" with their mobile phones. Fifty-four percent said the mobile phone they use says more about their personality than what they carry in their wallet.
"When credit and debit cards were first introduced, consumers welcomed the improvements they made to the speed, convenience and reliability of transactions," said Mr. Woo. "Now with the mobile wallet ready to revolutionize this experience again, consumers have even more to gain as their phones take on additional functionality and value in their lives."
Speed is a major issue when it comes to the mobile experience. Those new to the technology who are used to broadband connections on their computers can become frustrated with the wait time involved with data usage on mobile phones.
On last Sunday's Fareed Zakaria GPS on CNN, Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, said help was on the way with both speed and other elements of the mobile experience.
"Think about mobile phones a decade ago and you can see that it is 100 times faster today than it was 10 years ago. How quickly we forget the primitive world that we lived in 10 - 15 years ago," said Mr. Schmidt.
How long will it be before at least half of payments made in stores are done with mobile devices?