JiWire: 37% Of Cell Owners Using 'Mobile Wallet' Services

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More than a third (37%) of mobile consumers have used some type of “mobile wallet” service in the last three months, according to new findings from location-based mobile ad company JiWire. The report appeared to define the term loosely as any type of mobile payment made at the point of sale.

Of those who have not used mobile wallet services, 8% said they would like to, and 14% didn’t know what a mobile wallet is. The JiWire data roughly corresponds to a December 2011 report from comScore showing that 38% of smartphone owners had used their phones to make some kind of purchase.

A recent poll of mobile experts by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that 65% expect most people to have fully adopted use of smart-device swiping as their everyday means of paying by 2020. Previous Pew research showed that more than one-third of smartphone owners have used their phones to do online banking services like paying bills or checking a balance, and that 46% of apps users have purchased an app through a mobile device.

Still, there is debate surrounding how quickly mobile wallets will catch on widely. Google, for instance, was said to be considering a revamp of its approach that would include revenue sharing with partners Verizon and AT&T to help spur adoption of its Google Wallet app.

Separately, the JiWire report indicated that half (49%) of mobile users comparison shopped via mobile while in retail stores during the first quarter. Furthermore, 15% compared prices to the store’s own Web site, and 13% searched for mobile coupons. People between the ages of 25 and 44, and men (53%) are most likely to check prices via mobile while shopping.

Tablet owners were twice as likely as non-owners to comparison shop in-store and purchase on a mobile device instead, at 10% versus 5%. Nearly half (47%) of smartphone users have a tablet, up from 32% in the fourth quarter of 2011.

JiWire, which serves ads to more than 30,000 Wi-Fi locations in North America, also looked at usage by C-level officers. It found that 70% use location-based apps on a weekly or daily basis, and more than half of business executives use apps on a daily basis regardless of position or company size.

Travel, weather and social networking apps are the most commonly used types for business travelers. For the same group, booking reservations is the most important service while on the go, followed by finding nearby business services.

Almost half of JiWire’s audience is now connecting to the network via smartphones (31%) or tablets (14%). The iPhone, iPad and iPod touch remain the top three device, although the iPhone was the only one of Apple devices to gain ground in the first quarter, up 2.3%. Android was the only smartphone platform to see an increase in users, growing 3.2%.

The JiWire findings are based on data from 315,000 public Wi-Fi hotspots, as well as surveying more than 5,000 randomly-selected customers across its Wi-Fi media network between January and March.

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