The Commuter’s Shopping Impulse

By | September 13, 2006

A good piece that explores the point I was trying to make earlier about the commuter element in cellphone service adoption, from Reuters’ Sachi Izumi (via

Someone needs to look closely at the link between flat free pricing for mobile browsing and m-commerce (yeah I don’t like calling it that either, but it’s there to differentiate between buying online and buying on the mobile. I’m sure the distinction will blur eventually). Japan’s burst in mobile commerce ahead of the rest of the world is impressive, and it’s all to do with people being stuck with their phones for company for long periods. Jun Hasebe, an analyst at Daiwa Institute of Research: “Impulse shopping accounts for most of the purchases done on mobile phones, and that would not usually happen unless users are on flat fee-based services.” Phones, in a word, have become more like our friends than our friends are.

The only thing holding this back? Fear of fraud. Most people don’t like punching in their credit cards to their phones, although this may have as much to do with where they are (public places, public transport) than it is about actual fraud. One reason I think facial recognition as authentication will play a big role.

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