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Will teenagers save the mobile commerce sector?

Oct 02, 2013 Dave King

Electronic and mobile payment platforms have been expected to increase in popularity during the last few years. However, these payment systems have yet to pick up steam and continue to lag behind more traditional transaction mediums.

Despite the modest adoption rate, there may be hope for mobile payment enterprises in the form of the teenage generation. Forrester suggested that consumers aged between 12 and 17 - labeled "digital natives" - are much more comfortable using smartphones and tablets than other age groups. This is due to these individuals being raised in a time period in which the mobile device adoption rates spiked.

Although the source noted that their youth largely prohibits them from being a major consumer group at the moment, digital natives represent a changing market dynamic of purchasers who are becoming more likely to buy products on mobile devices. In fact, Forrester found that 45 percent of digital natives already have their own smartphones. As they age, that rate is expected to increase.

One insight that may help mobile sellers, marketers and transaction processing companies is that digital natives are slightly more likely to purchase a digital item than a physical product on mobile devices. Forrester reported that 49 percent of mobile commerce buyers in this age group buy a digital good - such as an eBook or downloadable movie - at least once each month.

This is a significant trend in an emerging consumer group that retailers should take note of. It's widely accepted that the digital media landscape is on the rise, with purchasers increasingly active in digital purchasing environments. Forrester's data suggests that trend will only gain momentum as younger generations get older.

Income, spending on the rise
Despite the slow growth in mobile payments in recent years, the market has indeed been increasing, which is good news for mobile transaction firms. Another positive sign for the sector is that the economy is rebounding nicely, as is evident by the Commerce Department's latest consumer spending report.

The Associated Press reported that the agency's data showed consumer spending on goods and services spiked by 0.3 percent in August. Also, income levels jumped by 0.4 percent, the largest monthly increase recorded since February.

With retail outlets and online vendors readying themselves for the lucrative holiday push, now may be the time to seriously consider investing in mobile payment platforms. Sellers who are able to shrewdly introduce the technology could see their profits soar.