Determinants of Consumer Acceptance of M-Commerce

Article excerpt

The decade has seen mobile phones and other hand-held devices being used for various services. M-commerce has very rapidly developed into a very powerful way of reaching out to the consumer. Factors that motivate a consumer to engage in m-commerce are a blend of strategy, technology and marketing. This research paper integrates elements from factors defining consumer behavior with acceptance of technology to identify and measure the factors influencing customers' acceptance of m-commerce. The results revealed that perceived usefulness and ease of use significantly affect acceptance of m-commerce while perceived financial risk adversely impacts the acceptance of m-commerce by consumers. The suggestions for strategic and managerial decision-making are offered.

INTRODUCTION

Today we are on the cusp of a new era in e-commerce, where e-services are no longer restricted to traditional desktops and laptops but are delivered to consumers over mobile devices (Rajaraman, Walmart Global e-commerce). The mobile revolution has taken the world by a storm. The improvements in wireless and computing technologies have led to the proliferation of handheld devices and mobile phones and their usage for varied services. Advancements in technology leading to miniaturization on one hand, and improvement in services on the other have fuelled consumers' dependence on mobile phones based services. Also, the phenomenal proliferation of mobile networks and the falling profitability of the provision of pure voice services are, on the other hand, pushing mobile service providers to explore the potential of the mobile phone to support more-than-voice applications and services. Hence, the technology popularly known as 'm-commerce' is the next phase of e-commerce, which conducts internet based transactions via mobile phones and personal digital assistants. Studies have shown that m-commerce is not to replace electronic commerce but to supplement it. M-commerce has gained popularity for being able to provide individualized, customized and location specific services to the user, thus increasing efficiency, entertainment as well as spontaneity (Clarke, 2008).

Previous research in m-commerce has shown that understanding the factors that motivate a consumer to carry on a m-transaction is a blend of technology and marketing. This calls for a radical shift in thinking. With a concept such as m-commerce which is so deeply embedded in technology it is easy to mistake the technology for the concept itself (Balasubramanian et al., 2002). M-commerce can deal with all the transaction functions, like mobile banking, mobile entertainment, mobile advertising, and mobile ticketing. But, whenever technologies are employed, usually of a cutting edge nature, benefits to consumers and their acceptance are often nebulous. So, in order to leverage the full potential of m-commerce for the market and consumers, it is essential to separate the concept from its underlying technologies. Several consumer and market related questions regarding use of hand-held devices for carrying out internet based transactions need to be answered for unleashing the full potential of m-commerce. Hence, optimizing the benefits of m-commerce requires a deep understanding of consumer behavior for accepting m-commerce. Apart from this, the acceptance of the mobile technology as an alternative to traditional ways of carrying out transactions also needs to be understood. Optimizing the potential of m-commerce requires understanding these factors and their inter-relationships. Hence, the purpose of this research is to explain constructs which would determine the acceptance of m-commerce by mobile users.

Since m-commerce is still in the initial phase and has a potential to deal with all the transaction functions such as mobile banking, mobile ticketing, mobile entertainment, mobile advertising, hence it requires extensive research in various disciplines and contexts (Kao, 2009). Thus the motivation for this research lies in understanding the dimensions of consumer behavior for adoption of m-commerce in Indian context. …