Mobile purchases of Christmas gifts set to double


The number of people using mobile devices to purchase Christmas presents is likely to more than double this winter, new research suggests.


A consumer survey revealed that half of people with a device such as a smartphone or tablet computer plan to use it to buy gifts, while one-third will use it to make travel arrangements. The research highlights the speed at which consumers have taken to online shopping while on the move and underlines the importance of security measures.

Mobile devices aid Christmas shoppers
Half of people with a smartphone or tablet computer plan to use their mobile device to buy Christmas presents this year, compared with just 22% last year. That is according to the latest research from internet security company Webroot, which polled 1,215 mobile device users. One in three respondents also revealed that they intend to book Christmas travel via their smartphone or tablet, after using it to research transport options.

Brits particularly keen to arrange travel via mobile
Webroot's researchers found that UK travellers are particularly open to making travel arrangements via their mobile devices. Four-fifths of Britons said they use mobile devices to compare hotel or ticket prices, compared with 72% of Americans. UK consumers are also more likely than Americans to download boarding passes in this way (56% versus 44%) and purchase travel tickets (46% versus 32%).

Security not yet up to speed
Unfortunately, despite consumers' desire to make purchases via their mobile devices, it seems their knowledge of and adherence to recommended security measures is poor. According to the Webroot research, just 40% of people have a security app installed, while 53% leave their devices unlocked. This means that most people leave their devices and data exposed to criminal activity.

"People using mobile devices are exposed to a new set of online risks: cybercriminals seed mobile markets with malicious apps that can steal your personal data or send texts and SMS messages to premium numbers," said Chad Bacher, vice-president of mobile solutions at Webroot. "And because of their size, smartphones and tablets are easier to lose or have stolen than laptops and notebooks, which puts the vast amounts of personal data stored on them at risk."

Top mobile security tips
In order to secure mobile devices, users are advised to lock their devices with passwords, numeric codes or patterns and to only download apps from a trusted source. Consumers may also want to consider mobile security services, such as lost device protection, secure web browsing and anti-malware solutions.

See related: Consumers using smartphones to shop; Study: Nearly half of Brits haven't saved for the holidays

Published: 18 November 2011