More evidence for the growth of mobile commerce is provided by stats released yesterday which show that 37% of US smartphone users have made a (non-mobile) purchase on their handsets in the last six months.

The Compete stats come from its Smartphone Intelligence Survey. Here are some of the highlights…

Products purchased by smartphone users

19% have purchased music on their phones, 14% have bought books, DVDs or games, while 12% have purchased movie tickets.

The amount that mobile users are willing to spend varies between handsets, with 32% of Android and 29% of iPhone users wiling to spend $100 or more from their handsets, compared with 14% of Blackberry users.

Most popular mobile shopping activities

The most popular activities, as shown in the chart below (click on chart for larger version) are looking up shipping information for products they are looking to buy online, or else finding address details for a local store.

This means retailers need to prioritise this information on their mobile sites and apps. A good store locator tool, such as that on the Barnes & Noble app, which uses GPS to find the nearest store and provide directions for customers, can make a big difference.

After this, shopping comparison activities are popular for smartphone users; reviewing product descriptions, looking for reviews, and comparing prices. This makes features such as the camera tool on the Barnes & Noble app and the similar ‘Amazon remembers’ feature so useful for mobile shoppers.

Third party comparison tools such as iBarcode, which takes a reading of a barcode and compares prices across several retailers, will also become valuable, as they offer an easy way to compare prices for offline shoppers.

Buying direct from mobiles

After finding store locations and comparing reviews and prices, the most popular activities are buying on a mobile having seen a product in store and buying items on mobiles having gone to a store and failed to find them.

This suggests that people are making decisions to purchase later on, and mobile commerce sites can help to satisfy this consumer urge to buy items there and then.

Barriers to mobile commerce

The biggest reasons for abandoning mobile purchases on sites that have not been optimised for mobile users. 8% of smartphone users had been unable to complete a purchase on their phones, with 45% abandoning because the site would not load, and 38% because the site had not been developed for smartphone users.