Smartphones and tablets make it easier than ever to make impulse purchases.
As a result, mobile buying is expected to be more popular than ever on Cyber Monday next week and throughout the 2011 holiday season.
A recent survey of 403 adult Americans found 70% of mobile shoppers expect to make, or have already made, more purchases from a smartphone this holiday season than they did in 2010.
The online Motricity Mobile Shopping Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research between Nov. 8 and Nov. 14.
Mobile shoppers still say they don't buy big ticket items from their devices, though the most expensive purchase averaged $274, surprisingly high when compared to 99-cent price of many mobile apps.
At the same time, 32% of those surveyed had yet to spend more than $100 on any one item when shopping via a mobile device.
Men, on average, spent $312 for their most expensive item, compared to $222 for women.
The Motricity survey said the increased shopping from mobile devices this year is likely due mostly to a growing comfort level with purchasing goods using them. In fact, 44% of respondents cited their comfort level with the technology as the primary reason for making more purchases by the devices, while 35% cited the ease of using devices for buying goods.
The study's authors noted that over the past year, many users bought high performance touchscreen tablets or upgraded to them from devices that use trackballs.
Some users still see barriers to mobile purchases. For instance, 32% said they have "concerns about security" while the same percentage said it's difficult to get full product information on the screen of their device.
Some respondents also said slow and unreliable Internet connections and problems entering purchase information are barriers to mobile shopping.
One big surprise: younger mobile shoppers are NOT the biggest driver of mobile shopping, the Metrico study found.
Device owners aged 25-44 are almost twice as likely to say that shopping from a mobile device is more convenient than other means that those aged 18 to 24 (by 42% to 23%), the survey found.
"It's common to think that the increased popularity of mobile shopping is being driven by Gen Y," the survey concluded. "It's also incorrect."
Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is email@example.com.