Brazilians Aren’t Jumping on the Mobile Payments Bandwagon Just Yet

Three-quarters of Brazilians say they'll join the mobile payments game eventually, but not all of them are ready to do so right now.

Still not convinced about mobile payments? Maybe this will help change your mind. Three-quarters of Brazilians say they will probably or definitely make a purchase by cell phone or tablet in the future.

In May and June of this year, Pagtel commissioned and Group to conduct a survey on the ways in which Brazilians are using their mobile devices. Consumers from São Paulo, Porto Alegre, Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro, Recife and Belém were asked a series of questions to foster a better understanding of how Brazilians are utilizing, consuming content on and making purchases with mobile.

As mentioned, 75.5% of respondents said they’ll likely make a purchase on a mobile device at some point down the road, citing practicality, convenience, flexibility, speed and price range as their motivations. However, they’re not all ready to start buying today. Pagtel’s Felipe Lessa explained:

Brazilians already have some notion of mobile purchases, but they need more concrete experience besides the purchase of applications, account top-ups and content, which are now the most common uses.

Virtual goods are a point of comfort for Brazilian mobile users, who are generally more accustomed to buying applications, topping up cell phone accounts and purchasing content and tickets with their devices. Mobile vending and e-commerce are the main entry points for m-commerce, as the users are not so resistant to entering data into a computer,” Lessa noted. “The security barrier is weaker.”

It should come as no surprise then, that spending on applications accounts for most mobile purchases: 7.1% of respondents in the A/B Class reported spending R$20 per month on apps, and 6.7% of Class C said the same.

So what’s keeping Brazilians from adopting m-commerce on a broader scale? A number of issues. Thirty-eight percent of respondents said mobile sites seem to come and go, 25% reported concerns about data security, and 12% said that sites are too complicated. Credit card access was reported as an issue as well.

Beyond what they’re buying, the survey also delved into what Brazilians are consuming on their mobile devices. What they’re into, it turns out, depends a lot on their age. Of those over the age of 25, 71% reported reading newspapers and 79.7% magazines. The under-25 group was a different story – 58% reading newspapers and 67% reading magazines. What they’re doing instead: watching movies (61%) and television (57%).

A note for content sellers: the under-25 group isn’t very willing to spend.

Brazil’s mobile payment market is growing, but it is by no means a done deal. In July, Lessa spoke with PulsoSocial about what he thinks still has to happen on the m-payment front:

Mobile payment is about changing culture, so we have to create systems that are totally consumer focused. Otherwise, we’ll just end up with innovation for mobile, and not something that’s good (or profitable) for business.