M-commerce: 59% of Australian respondents prefer to go mobile first

Published on 09/03/2023 by Ojasvini

Are consumers frequently shopping online? Which platform are they using the most? Do they prefer smartphones or tablets, or are they more comfortable using desktops for online shopping? Find answers to these and other such questions in our survey article.

M-commerce involves shopping online using a mobile device

For businesses, it might be essential to meet their customers wherever they are. In a technology-driven world, users consuming online content and their dependency on digital shopping might have increased. As per Forbes, ‘smartphones play a pivotal role in people’s lives, most especially for GenZs and Millennials, who are digital natives’, which makes it even more important for businesses to focus on mobile commerce. Mobile commerce (m-commerce) is a form of eCommerce but is different in the respect that it allows consumers to access online shopping platforms without needing a desktop computer. Basically, it allows consumers to shop on the go from anywhere and at anytime.

To understand consumer behaviour regarding online shopping using mobile devices, their choice of platform, their preferred devices, and the challenges they face while making mobile purchases, Software Advice conducted an online survey with 1,002 participants. We surveyed these participants to gain an overall understanding of how they’re going about making mobile purchases. The full methodology can be found at the end of this article.

How often do consumers shop online?

In order to understand the shopping pattern of customers, we asked them about the frequency of their online shopping. This is what they said: 

  • 28% of the surveyed respondents said they shop online ‘once a week’
  • 27% of the participants said they shop ‘once a month’
  • 24% of them said they shop online ‘once every two weeks’
  • The remaining 21% of the respondents shop ‘multiple times a week’

What is mobile commerce (m-commerce), and how does it work?

Mobile commerce is a concept that refers to any online monetary transaction carried out using a mobile device. Simply put, m-commerce basically involves shopping through a mobile device, be it a smartphone or a tablet. 

Within the m-commerce domain, a customer can perform different types of transactions, including mobile shopping —for instance, purchasing clothes from an online store— mobile banking —for example, transferring money from one bank account to another via a mobile device— and mobile payments —which involve using an app like Google Pay to pay a bill amount to a merchant.

Which is the most preferred device for online shopping?

Going forward, we wanted to understand the respondents’ choice of devices when shopping online. Therefore, we asked them which device they prefer for online shopping, and these are the responses we recorded:

Majority of the respondents prefer to go ‘mobile first’

Clearly, the data indicates that the majority (59%) of the respondents prefer to go ‘mobile first’. The potential reasons behind respondents choosing this option could be the ease of use that mobile devices offer with features such as faster checkouts and more convenient payment options, security and reliability, and the flexibility of shopping from anywhere on the go.

What is the difference between eCommerce and m-commerce?

eCommerce is a broader and relatively older concept than m-commerce and typically involves buying and selling products/services online. M-commerce is a sub-part or sub-category of eCommerce and involves purchasing using mobile devices, such as smartphones or tablets. 

Moreover, eCommerce activities are typically conducted using a desktop; hence, there is no space for mobility, meaning consumers cannot make purchases on the move or from anywhere. On the other hand, with m-commerce, purchases can be made from anywhere as long as users have access to the internet on their mobile devices.

Which device do they prefer to perform certain tasks?

Moving on, to understand the respondents’ device preferences for different shopping-related tasks, we asked them the following question and evaluated their responses as depicted below:

Mobile phones are the most preferred device in the majority of shopping-related activities

Unsurprisingly, in almost all cases, be it checking the rating and reviews of a product, completing a payment, tracking the delivery of an item or other tasks, the respondents prefer mobile phones over computers or tablets.

Which is the preferred payment method for online shoppers?

We asked respondents about their preferred payment method for making payments while shopping online. These are the responses we received from them:

  • 38% of the respondents answered with PayPal
  • 31% said they prefer debit cards
  • 20% of the participants said they prefer to pay via credit cards when shopping online
  • 10% of them said they prefer mobile wallets for payment purposes

Additionally, we also asked respondents which device they mainly use when making mobile online purchases. Unsurprisingly, the majority (84%) of the respondents use ‘smartphones’, followed by 9% saying they prefer ‘tablets’, 7% saying ‘they don’t make mobile purchases, and the remaining 1% stating that their preference is a ‘smartwatch or other wearables’.

Going forward, we also questioned these 7% of respondents who don’t make mobile purchases about why they don’t prefer doing this. These are the responses we got:

  • 56% of the respondents said they are used to making purchases on the computer
  • 30% of them feel it’s not safe
  • Another 30% of the respondents said they find it more difficult to input purchase details —e.g., name, address, payment info, etc.
  • 21% of them said they can’t visualise what they are purchasing properly
  • 17% of the participants feel it takes longer to find the product/service they are looking for, followed by other respondents giving reasons such as they don’t want to spend so much time on their mobile (12%), and that it’s not easy to perform comparisons (12%)

Which mobile wallet app do consumers mainly use?

From our observations, we understood that the majority of respondents prefer using mobile devices for online shopping. Delving deeper, we asked the participants which particular mobile wallet app they mainly use, and we list below the different online payment methods they mentioned: 

  • 37% of the respondents said they use ‘Apple Pay’
  • 32% of them answered with ‘PayPal’
  • 11% of the participants said they ‘don’t use any mobile wallet applications’
  • 10% answered with ‘Google Pay’
  • 6% of the participants chose ‘mobile wallet app from their own bank’
  • 3% answered with ‘Samsung Pay’

From previous observations on the data points, we concluded that ‘PayPal’ as a platform is among the most chosen options, both as a mobile wallet app for online shopping and for payment purposes as well.

Reasons why the majority make purchases with their mobile

Moving on, we asked those 93% of respondents who make mobile purchases why they prefer to do so. We got the following results:

Reasons why majority of the respondents make purchases with their mobile

Clearly —for the majority of the respondents— it is the ease of access that mobile purchases offer that makes them use this option.

Challenges faced while purchasing through mobile devices

In connection with the above data point, we asked the same set of respondents about the greatest difficulties they face in making purchases through their mobile and asked them to select up to three answers. To this, we got the following answers:

  • 34% of the respondents said that the biggest difficulty is ‘security concern’
  • 29% of them said they find ‘difficulty in visualing the product they’re buying’
  • 27% of the participants answered with ‘slow web loading time’
  • 23% said there are ‘too many distractions’ such as apps notifications, messages, etc.
  • Another 23% of the respondents said they find there are ‘internet connectivity issues’
  • 19% of them said that the ‘sites are not responsive’
  • 16% of the survey-takers said that ‘there are too many steps to complete the purchase’
  • 15% feel that there is ‘lack of connection between store website, mobile, and physical store’
  • 13% of them said that they face ‘dificulty in finding a product or product category’
  • 8% answered with ‘bad customer support’
  • 4% of the participants feel that there is ‘lack of VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality) applications’

How can businesses improve the mobile shopping experience?

Delving deeper into the issue, we asked the respondents who make mobile purchases how they think stores could improve the mobile shopping experience. The answers are depicted in the chart below:

How can online businesses improve the mobile shopping experience?

As per the data depicted above, the two main improvement points that respondents feel stores should consider include improving product descriptions and images, followed by simplifying purchase steps or making the buying process less complicated.

How can businesses help?

Online shopping stores can perform a usability test on their website to ensure the buying process is smoother. In addition, they can work on optimising their website design. For instance, modifying their content for smaller screens or improving navigation across various web pages. Moreover, they can focus on website accessibility, ensuring that users with visual, auditory, and cognitive disabilities can interact with their content more effectively.

Going forward, we asked the same set of respondents which channel they prefer to shop online through on their mobile. This is what they said:

  • 43% of the respondents said they prefer to shop ‘directly on the company’s website’
  • A combined total of 25% marked their preference as marketplace websites and marketplace apps such as Amazon, AliExpress, etc.
  • 12% of them stated they’d prefer to shop ‘directly on the company’s mobile app’
  • 11% of the participants said ‘they don’t have any preference’
  • 7% of them showed their preference for social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok
  • Only 1% of the respondents said they’d prefer messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Telegram

Which products/services are usually purchased using mobile?

To understand consumer preferences regarding online shopping, we asked mobile shoppers which products/services they usually purchase with their mobile. We got the following answers:

Majority of the respondents usually purchase ‘clothes’ using their mobile

Our survey results indicated that the majority (64%) of the respondents buy clothes, followed by 51% opting for food and drinks (e.g., groceries, prepared food, etc.).

Do users create an account when making mobile purchases?

To better understand customers’ purchase patterns, we asked mobile shoppers the following question: ‘How often, if available, do you set up a client account when making purchases with your mobile?’ To this, 37% of the respondents answered ‘most of the time’, 34% of them said ‘sometimes’, 12% answered ‘rarely’, 10% of the users said they always create a client account, and the remaining 6% chose ‘never’. 

Those respondents who answered with ‘never’ (6%) also stated the reasons behind not setting up a client account when making mobile purchases. Some such reasons included the fact that account set-up takes up too much time (25%), data privacy concerns (17%), and the respondents not wanting to receive ads (33%).

How often do they set up and use one-click ordering?

All those users —except the ones who said they ‘never’ created a client account— were asked how often they set up and use one-click ordering, and this is what they said:

  • Half of the respondents (50%) said they ‘sometimes’ set up and use one-click ordering
  • 27% of them said they use it ‘rarely’
  • 13% of the participants answered with ‘often’
  • The remaining 10% said they ‘never’ set up or use it

What does one-click ordering mean?

One-click ordering is a concept in which a customer has already entered and saved their payment and other information on the website previously, and then when they re-visit the same website, they can make purchases with a single click. In such cases, customers are not required to re-enter the same information repeatedly, which usually eliminates redundancy, helping ensure that they have a more seamless shopping experience.

Is mobile the glue between the digital and physical world?

With more and more consumers moving to online platforms, businesses would need to find ways to optimise their websites to ensure a better shopping experience. Our survey data showed that the majority of the respondents use their smartphones to make online purchases. This indicates that m-commerce can help businesses bridge that gap between the digital and physical world and also help deliver instant gratification and an efficient user experience to online shoppers. This approach can also help provide an exceptional level of interaction and engagement, helping consumers in their buying decisions. 

In addition, mobile commerce can help businesses find more creative ways to advertise their products or services to their customers, encouraging them to make purchases, even while using social media channels. Also, the ability to personalise notifications and send them directly to the target audience via smart devices might help create a more personal relationship between the customer and the business. When businesses know exactly what their customers are looking for, there might be an opportunity to grow revenue and make a sale.

What to expect with part two of this article series?

  • What is q-commerce?
  • Have consumers ever used a quick commerce service?
  • What type of q-commerce platforms do consumers use the most?
  • How much money do they spend when making purchases through quick commerce?
  • How have users’ expectations about online shopping changed in the last two years?

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The 2023 Q-Commerce and M-Commerce Survey was launched between 27 January 2023 and 2 February 2023. Software Advice gathered the participation of 1,002 participants from different parts of Australia. The criteria for selecting the participants are as follows:

  • Australian resident
  • Above 18 years of age
  • Shop online at least once per month
  • Are not a part of the silent generation (people born before 1946)

This article may refer to products, programs or services that are not available in your country, or that may be restricted under the laws or regulations of your country. We suggest that you consult the software provider directly for information regarding product availability and compliance with local laws.

About the author

Ojasvini is a content analyst for Software Advic. She shares insights about software technologies critical to SMEs. Inspired by growing tech trends and how these help SMEs to grow.

Ojasvini is a content analyst for Software Advic. She shares insights about software technologies critical to SMEs. Inspired by growing tech trends and how these help SMEs to grow.