Americans are gradually warming up to the idea of buying things via their mobile phones, particularly young adults and men, found a new study conducted by Harris Interactive for the mobile credit card security firm Billing Revolution.

Harris surveyed 2,029 adults from April 29 to May 1; 1,883 of those surveyed were cell phone owners (93 percent). Close to half (45 percent) said they think that shopping via cell phones is "somewhat safe," though just over a quarter (26 percent) feel that mobile shopping is completely safe.

Regardless, fewer than half of those surveyed (46 percent) said they would be willing to shop using their cell phones even if safety was not an issue. But attitudes vary based on age and sex, according to Harris. As with many emerging technology-driven habits, younger adults appear more willing to embrace change; 59 percent of the 18-34 crowd feels that mobile shopping is somewhat safe, versus just 34 percent of adults over 55. Also, half of men find the concept of cell phone shopping somewhat safe versus 39 percent of women.

The relative youth, as well as the male-skewing nature of the potential mobile shopping audience seems to influence the sort of purchases respondents indicated they would be willing to make. Harris found that entertainment is likely to emerge as a key mobile commerce category, as willing mobile shoppers said they would be most interested in purchases such as movie tickets, music, mobile video and games.

Officials at Billing Revolution said the survey results indicated that mobile shopping is poised for growth in the near term, as more and more Americans purchase sophisticated smart phones like Apple's iPhone and spend more time accessing the Internet via these devices.

"There's clearly a large U.S. population of consumers open to the idea of making purchases via their cell phones," said Andy Kleitsch, CEO Billing Revolution. "With consumers getting more comfortable navigating the Web from mobile phones, mobile commerce is poised for explosive growth, and consumers are very much leading the charge in this direction."

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