Digital goods, spurred by the growth in freemium business models and in-app purchases, dominate the area of mobile content and commerce.

However, there is a decline in the volume of purchases for the first time – from 54% of mobile media users in 2012 to 42% in 2013. Globally, there is a growing trend towards purchasing physical and perishable goods, with 25% of users happy to shop on mobile platforms for these items.

These are among the results of the third annual Global Consumer Survey by MEF, the Global Community for Mobile Content and Commerce. The report reveals the behaviour and attitudes of mobile media users from across the globe in developed and growth markets, giving unprecedented data and intelligence in to consumer engagement via mobile in 13 countries.

Carried out in partnership with On Device Research, the expanded annual study which this year includes Kenya, Nigeria and UAE for the first time analyses data from 10 000 consumers. It reveals that 65% of mobile media users globally have used their device to purchase goods or services.

The study also found that the number of actual purchases may be falling in volume, but the value of individual purchases is going up. High spend purchases (over $151 or equivalent) jumped to 39% with low spend items (under $15.99 or equivalent) at 37% dropping from 43% in 2012. ‘High spenders’ are most prolific in Nigeria, Mexico and Kenya reflecting the mobile-first ecosystems in these regions.

The study, now in its third year, analyses both developed and growth markets namely Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Qatar, South Africa, UAE, UK and US. It identifies a discernable shift in the purchasing of digital goods as consumers embrace an era of Mobile 3.0.

This is characterised by a new breed of super apps that are displacing one off purchases – for music or video for example – with longer term subscription based services or apps and games offering months of immersive gameplay, typifying in-app purchase business models and long term player engagement.

This is not limited to developed markets; the report found a significant number of consumers in growth market regions are moving past the premium content phase and into a space defined by smartphones and apps.

However, consumer trust remains a significant barrier to increased adoption and purchasing behaviour and is a growing concern for consumers. In the 2013 Global Consumer Survey, 40% of consumers cite trust as an issue compared with 35% in 2012 and 27% in 2011.

Andrew Bud, MEF Global chair, comments: “MEF’s 2013 annual study vividly illuminates the worldwide emergence of Mobile 3.0, the next phase in the evolution of mobile content and commerce.

“In Mobile 3.0, mobile has become the primary tool for engagement and transaction in consumers’ digital lives, creating exciting new opportunities and challenges. As an industry, we must continue to work to reduce the barriers to this growth, and especially to ensure trust and confidence in the ecosystem and its business models.”