Google Leads in Mobile Search, Too, as M-Commerce Accelerates

June 19, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Paid Search | Retail & E-Commerce

Google leads in mobile internet search provider share (61% in the first quarter of 2008), followed by Yahoo (18%) and MSN (5%), according to Nielsen Mobile, which also released data on commerce conducted via mobile devices.

Among the mobile-search findings issued by Nielsen Mobile:

  • Google and Yahoo mobile search skew male; 65% of Google search users and 63% of Yahoo searchers are male.
  • Averaging 9.0 searches per month, Google users search more frequently than users of any other mobile internet search provider. Yahoo is third, with its users searching on average 6.7 times per month.
  • Google and Yahoo mobile searchers have the same objectives, in nearly equal proportions, when using mobile internet search:


  • Some 44% of Google users rate their satisfaction with mobile Internet search between 8 to 10 on a 10-point scale, compared with 40 of Yahoo searchers who do so.

Mobile Commerce Accelerates

Some 9 million US mobile subscribers say they have used their mobile phone to pay for goods or services, and half of all data users (49%) say they expect to participate in mobile commerce in the future, according to Nielsen Mobile figures issued at the Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition in Chicago, IL.

Among the findings presented:

  • As of Q1 2008, 3.6% of US mobile subscribers – some 9.2 million – have used their phone to pay for goods or services.
  • Men are more likely than women to use their phone for commerce: 4.5% (4.9 million) of men and 3.0% (4.3 million) of women say they have made a purchase using their phone.
  • Adults age 25-34 are the most likely to have made a purchase using their phone: 5.4% of that age group (or some 3 million people) have made a purchase, compared with 3.6% among the general mobile-subscriber population.

How Purchases Are Made

Mobile websites are one popular way consumers make purchases over the mobile phone. Of the 40 million active US users of the mobile web in April 2008, 5 million accessed mobile shopping and auction websites – up 73% from April 2007, when just 2.9 million mobile users did so.

Auction site is the most popular shopping or auction destination on the mobile web, with 3.4 million unique visitors in April.

Purchasing items via text messaging is another growing form of mobile commerce. Some services allow consumers to send text messages to a phone number or mobile shortcode in order to be charged for goods or services directly on their mobile phone bills. Already, 6.5 million US mobile consumers say they’ve used text messaging to purchase an item.

“For many of the millions of consumers who are already shopping online or over landline phones, mobile commerce is an obvious and useful extension of that opportunity,” said Nic Covey, director of insights at Nielsen Mobile, who presented the data at the Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition.

“As more mobile commerce services become available and consumers develop a greater trust for phone-based transactions, we expect commerce to be an increasingly important part of the mobile experience next year and beyond.”

M-Commerce Concerns

Nielsen’s study reveals that security is the top concern among those mobile data users not yet participating in m-commerce:

  • 41% of data users who do not participate in mobile commerce say security is their biggest concern.
  • 23% say they worry about being charged for the airtime.
  • 21% say they don’t trust that the transaction will be completed.

“As with other forms of electronic commerce, US consumers need proof that mobile transactions will be a safe, affordable and efficient complement to other modes of shopping,” said Covey.

“As long as retailers continue to meet those expectations, more consumers will come to view mobile shopping as a compelling and viable option.”

About the data: The findings come from Nielsen Mobile’s monthly Mobile Insights survey of more than 30,000 US wireless subscribers, with similar data available internationally.

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