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Mobile Commerce Adoption in Saudi Arabia

In the recent years, several developments have been experienced in the field of information and communication technology. One of the major developments has been in internet and web development field. Accordingly, the increasing mobile phones usage has opened up avenues for mobile commerce services across the globe in the recent years (Dass & Pal, 2011, p. 2). However, whereas e-commerce services have experienced rapid growth and development in developed countries, most developing countries have been lagging behind in mobile commerce uptake (Chang et al. 2009, p. 127). Furthermore, among developing countries, the Middle East region has been hardly hit by sluggish uptake e-commerce and mobile commerce though rapid penetration of information technology has been experienced in the last decade or so (Wei, Xinyan & Yue, 2011, p.2). Against this background, this literature review was deemed necessary in order to shed light on the current situation of internet and M-commerce in Saudi Arabia. However, it is imperative to mention that, research in mobile commerce is extremely limited; hence the current research has modified e-commerce findings that were deemed applicable in order to understand success factors and barriers of M-commerce adoption. In addition, more emphasis was directed at cultural factors in order to understand their impact on M-commerce adoption from a consumer perspective.

Success factors and barriers for M- commerce in Saudi Arabia

Since the inception of mobile commerce, numerous studies on the adoption and diffusion have been very extensive and diverse in developed countries. However, researches into the same in developing countries especially in Saudi Arabia countries have been limited and even these few are anecdotal (Harris, Rettie & Kwan, 2005, p. 212). Studies on M-commerce adoption in Saudi Arabia are extremely limited. However, results from studies carried out in other developing countries can be replicated in Saudi Arabia in order to determine the factors that are likely to hinder or promote success of M-commerce adoption. Furthermore, studies on e-commerce adoption can also be utilized to address the success factors and hindrances of M-commerce adoption simply because most studies Utilize TCM model to address to these factors (Barati, 2009, p.2). Against this background, a study in Singapore by Yang (2005) established that M-commerce adoption depended on numerous factors. Those factors include government policies, telecommunications infrastructure, harmonization of technical standards and consumer privacy and transactions security (Yang 2005, p. 217- 273). Similarly, Beiginia et al. (2011, p. 25-35) identified factors such as quality of information, speed of transactions, and ease of use and security concerns as responsible for either promoting or hindering mobile commerce adoption.

Nonetheless, the few documented studies that are interested in exposing the actual situation of internet and e-commerce adoption can also be utilized to explore in success factors and barriers that have contributed to the slow adoption. Consequently, one such study is by AlGhamdi, Drew & Alkhalaf (2011, pp. 772-776) identified several problems that were common across retailer and consumers. They included issues to do with lack of trust, limited IT knowledge, lack of clear regulations and legislations for online transactions, limited ICT infrastructure, and insecurity in online payment among others (AlGhamdi, Drew & Alkhalaf, 2011, p. 773).

Accordingly, Al-Hudhaif and Alkubeyyer (201, pp. 122-134) conducted an empirical study that sought to identify the barriers and motivators that impacted on adoption of e-commerce in Saudi Arabia. They noted that consumer readiness towards e-commerce was a key external factor that determined whether businesses resorted to e-commerce services or not (Al-Hudhaif & Alkubeyyer, 2011, p.127 ). In additional, other internal factors such as technological, managerial, organizational decisions were also deemed to hinder or promote the adoption of e-commerce services.

Cultural related barriers and mobile commerce adoption in Saudi Arabia

On the other hand, the issue of barriers and motivators of mobile commerce adoption can be analyzed from a cultural perspective. An empirical study by Hernan and Rios (2010) incorporated the cultural factor of gender in their research in order to establish whether this variable impacted on adoption of mobile banking. Additionally, in their literature review they cited several factors such as age, computer skills mobile technology readiness and social influence that were deemed to influence mobile commerce adoption either positively or negatively (Hernan & Rios, 2010, p. 330). Additionally, a study that was conducted by AlGhaith, Sanzogni and Sandhu (2010, pp. 1-32) identified demographic variables of age, education, income, occupation and gender and they impact on e-commerce adoption were analyzed. These results can also be replicated on m-commerce adoption as recommended by (Barati, 2009, p.4).

Thirdly the impact of cultural factors on Mobile commerce adoption was also explored by Min, Li, & Ji (2009, pp. 305-312). In their presentation, the above authors highlighted that if collectivistic cultural values were geared towards technological innovation, most members were likely to embrace e-commerce services and M-commerce with ease and vice versa (Min, Li, & Ji, 2009, p. 311)

Mobile Commerce adoption and cultural influence from a consumer perspective

Numerous researches have been conducted on e-commerce adoption all over the world, but the same is lacking in mobile commerce. However, there are very few studies that are concerned in exposing the consumer attitudes towards mobile commerce as well as identification of the underlying factors that influence their attitudes (Donner, 2008, p. 4). Nonetheless, the identified studies cited several cultural factors such as trust, privacy, attitudes and beliefs, security and so on as the key hindrances towards mobile commerce adoption by consumers (Manochehri & Alhinai, 2008, pp. 1-6).

Security and Privacy Issues

Consequently, most researches have also identified that the issue of trust went hand in hand with security concern among consumers. According to Donner and Tellez (2008, p. 319), most studies on mobile adoption have eschewed from identifying the social, economic and cultural contexts that either hinder or promote m-commerce adoption among consumers. In their study that sought to establish the link between m-banking, adoption, uses and economy, they identified several factors that hindered adoption of m-commerce among consumers. Most consumers were concerned about perceived risk of m-banking due to mistrust of information technology systems provided to them by their respective banks (Donner & Teller, 2008, p. 320). Cho, Kwon & Lee (2007, p. 7) also observed that the lack of face to face communication in mobile commerce reduced buyers trust towards the seller and the product, hence it hindered e-commerce adoption among potential consumers. Similarly, a study among bank clients in India by Safeena, Date and Kammani (2011, p.60) exposed that most consumers eschewed from e-banking and mobile banking services because they did not trust mobile banking transactions. Jayasingh and Eze (2009) underscore that most consumers were concerned exchanging personal information online across unsecure wireless environment. This implies that consumers were more concerned about perceived credibility of mobile banking environment whereby a negative perception would definitely hinder adoption and vice versa (Jayasingh & Eze, 2009, p. 229). Research has shown that mobile transmissions are not free from hackers and other security vulnerabilities; hence most consumers are likely to be more wary of exchanging sensitive financial information via mobile phones (Jayasingh & Eze, 2009, p. 229). Perceived Usefulness, usage, enjoyment and attitude

Similarly, Suki (2011) in his research explored the relationship between the above factors and mobile commerce adoption among consumers. The results indicated that if the above factors were positive, then mobile commerce adoption consumers would also be positive and vice versa (Suki, 2011, pp. 1-12).

Consumer Resistance to Innovations

Barati and Mohammadi (2009) underscore that most technological innovations are doomed to fail due to consumer resistance towards change (p. 3). Most importantly, resistance is caused by both functional and psychological barriers that hinder adoption of M-commerce. Moreover, the authors identify functional barriers as ease of usage, while psychological factors were identified as tradition and image barriers (Barati & Mohammadi, 2009, p.3).


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