smartphoneHalf of all Brits are shopping on their smartphone, with music topping the purchases, followed by travel tickets and then apps and games.

Almost two thirds (62%) of Brits own a smartphone, with nearly half (49%) using them for online shopping or purchasing, according to research firm Mintel.

Thank you for the music

One in five (20%) smartphone users buy music through sites or apps such as iTunes. The next most popular purchase is travel tickets (16%) while "phone features" at 15% (including apps, games and ringtones) come in at third most. Clothes (13%) come next with cinema tickets (12%) books (12%) and electrical goods (12%) in joint fifth place.

Brits' ownership of smartphones is now significantly higher than the proportion of consumers who own a basic mobile phone (46%). What is more, almost one in five (19%) consumers plan to purchase a smartphone in the next three months, compared with just 5% who plan to buy a new basic mobile.

When it comes to shopping with a smartphone, m-commerce is dominated by small ticket items. Over two thirds (69%) of smartphone purchasers have spent £10 or more on a product or service bought through their mobile, however, just 25% choose m-commerce for big-ticket items of £50 or more.

And it seems shopping with a phone is particularly attractive to Britain's men, who are more likely to be higher spenders. Almost three in ten (28%) men spent more than £50 within a smartphone transaction, compared with just 20% of women.

Ring, ring

Paul Davies, senior technology analyst at Mintel, said: "Purchasing via smartphones is starting to reach a level of traction that cannot be ignored. As mobile shopping starts to justify focus that is equal to, if not greater than more conventional shopping channels, those who dedicate investment and sufficient attention to smartphone purchasing are likely to benefit.

"As consumer expectations continue to rise, existing mobile businesses cannot rest on their laurels. While, at the moment many use m-commerce for small purchases, it is likely that the mobile devices will have a significant impact on sales of more premium products and services over the coming years."

More than three fifths (61%) of smartphone purchasers have made their purchase via an app, while around the same proportion have used a mobile website (60%).

Money, money, money

When it comes to payment, more than two thirds (68%) of smartphone purchasers have used the conventional route of using a credit or debit card to pay for products and services. However, the rise in popularity of downloads from stores such as iTunes have prompted companies and customers to look at less direct methods of payment.

A as many as 47% of consumers have used a payment service, such as PayPal or iTunes where they had an existing account, meanwhile, a fifth (21%) of smartphone purchasers had been charged directly to their phone or phone credit.

When asked what their motivations are for using the smartphone, more than a third (36%) said they simply did not have access to another device at the time of buying, suggesting the smartphone may not have been their preferred choice of purchasing device.

The name of the game

In contrast, many consumers used smartphones to purchase because of specific advantages of their mobile software. Indeed, almost two fifths (39%) said they found apps easy to use, whilst 31% had no issues using mobile websites.

But more than two thirds (69%) of smartphone owners have decided against buying an item due to some kind of barrier. The most commonly cited barriers include concern about security (34%), slow loading times on the website (31%), the phone screen being too small (30%) and images and text being hard to view (24%).

Such barriers have prevented some 40% of non-purchasers from buying at all, while 21% of smartphone purchasers have at some point turned away from a purchase due to one factor or another.

Despite more than two thirds of consumers turning down a mobile purchase due to a specific barrier, at least 70% of said they could be encouraged to buy items via their mobile. This suggests that the current proportion of smartphone purchasers has not reached its saturation point, with an additional 21% of smartphone owners declaring an interest in m-commerce.

"Today, consumers are still finding barriers that prevent mobile purchasing, many of which can be overcome by companies who invest in the potential of this evolving channel." Davies concludes.