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Mobile E-Commerce Vendors Guilty Of Over-Hype, Study Says

Despite its enormous long-term potential, vendors are over-hyping mobile e-commerce to consumers who don't yet want it, a new study concludes.

"It's debatable whether ordinary consumers are actually demanding mobile e-commerce services right now," said Duncan Brown, senior consultant for Ovum, a research and consulting firm that conducted the study. "It's more a case of suppliers sensing an opportunity to make money and pushing the idea at them. In fact there isn't much, if any, money to be made in the short term."

Mobile e-commerce players must provide genuinely unique and compelling services, rather than trying to excite the market, the report says. 

The findings are from Ovum's report called, Mobile E-commerce: Market Strategies.

The first market acceptance for mobile e-commerce will be business-to-business application, the report says. 

"Business users, rather than the mass market, will be the first serious adopters," Brown said. "But even they won't pay a premium for existing services, which are easier and cheaper to access using the phone or a PC."

The report adds that the current climate has the frenzy, uncertainty and ill-preparedness of a gold rush.

"Potential mobile e-commerce players have to realize that, at this point in time, good substitutes for their services already exist - only the delivery method has changed," Brown said. "There would have to be significant value-add to change (people's) habits."

Such value-adds could include discounts or an up-to-date menu on screen.  Mobile e-commerce applications must play to the strengths of mobile devices, which are  convenience, he says.

Brown also faulted the mobile e-commerce industry for promising more than it currently can deliver.

"The barrage of operator marketing and media coverage hyping technologies such as WAP has left many believing that shopping via a mobile phone will be a reality within the year," he said. ""The industry hasn't even agreed on a framework for trusted and secure payments yet, let alone standardized its technology."



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