Mobile commerce on the rise

Mobile commerce in New Zealand is a "huge opportunity" and is likely to create a shift that would see decreasing foot traffic at bank branches.

Findings from global research company TNS's Mobile Life survey of 48,000 people in 58 countries show that while only 17 per cent of New Zealand's mobile phone users currently use "mobile commerce", 44 per cent would like to.

A third of Kiwi mobile phone owners now use a smartphone according to the survey, up from 24 per cent last year.

TNS New Zealand director David Thomas said New Zealanders surveyed liked the convenience of "mobile wallets" - essentially using a smartphone to pay for goods and services - and placed the greatest trust in banks to provide such a service.

However, foot-fall at banks would continue to decline as more services were offered online and via mobile devices, said Thomas.

Currently 28 per cent of New Zealanders are using mobile banking services, double that of the global average but behind Australia (37 per cent), Canada (31 per cent) and the United Kingdom (31 per cent).

But demand was increasing, with a further 39 per cent of New Zealanders interested in using mobile banking services.

"Some of the worries about privacy and security have been dissipated by the fact that we've had mobile banking for a little while, but of course partly this is just to do with technology rights," Thomas said.

"Mobile wallets generally require smartphones and generally a near-field communication chip in your phone which is still relatively unusual.

"The technology has driven mobile banking to come first but we can see with the developments of people like PayMark, Telecom and Vodafone are talking about we can see that the infrastructure for mobile wallets will come soon."

Forty-six per cent of mobile users would like to be able to compare prices using their mobile and a third said they would like to scan a barcode in store to receive more product information.

Thomas also said the use of location-based services (LBS), which can be adapted to offer commercial deals and advertisements based on a smartphone owner's location, was also starting to come of age.

Currently only 7 per cent of New Zealanders use location-based services on their phone daily primarily for navigation, compared to 19 per cent globally, but an additional 20 per cent of Kiwis who don't use LBS are interested in doing so.

"People are realising that sharing their location often offers some kind of reward in terms of a discount or deal," Thomas said.

"It is the combination of time and context - directing people towards a deal when they can easily redeem it - that unlocks a powerful tool for marketers to develop precise targeting approaches."

Just over 500 New Zealanders were surveyed via online market research forum SmileCity for the annual TNS Mobile Life study.