For many people, mobile payments are still a novelty - something they’d consider using, but until they bring some real value to the table, they aren’t going to change how people pay for products significantly. However, it does seem that some businesses are learning how to present the mobile payments value proposition to customers, as recent statistics from both Gartner and Nielsen have illustrated ramping growth in that area.
The growth of mobile payments
By the end of 2013, Gartner discovered that mobile payments jumped to $235.4 billion, up nearly $80 billion from the same time in 2012. A separate study from Nielsen found another interesting tidbit: Although mobile payments are still niche compared to cash and cards, those who do prefer mobile transactions are really enthusiastic about it. In fact, 40 percent of mobile wallet users have said that it’s now their primary way of making purchases, should the option be available.
Mobile payments are popular among a broad array of potential customers. For example, the two highest use groups of the transaction medium are those making less than $50,000 annually (32 percent) and those earning more than $100,000 per year (29 percent). Mobile payment use is also split nearly equally between men (47 percent) and women (53 percent). Although mobile payments do skew young, people between the ages of 35 and 54 make up just more than one-third of users. This means that a wide variety of businesses should be considering the use of mobile payments - there is no core audience that specifically uses smartphones to pay for goods.
“There’s no denying the impact that digital connectivity is having on our daily routines,” the Nielsen study added. “It’s changed how we watch video, keep tabs on our health - even the way we connect with our favorite World Cup players. And more recently, digital is starting to transform how consumers pony up cash for their everyday purchases. And for consumers using mobile payment technology, digital is already the norm.”
Offering the option
With mobile technology playing an increasingly big role in the lives of the everyday consumer, more people will begin leveraging mobile payment options. On top of that, businesses are doing a better job of encouraging customers to make the switch through bonus incentives such as loyalty clubs and reward points - it’s easy to manage loyalty efforts and mobile payments when they’re both done through the same app. It’s quite likely the number of shoppers using mobile payments will only continue to grow in the near future as a result.
For many retailers, convenience is the name of the game. People look for merchants to offer the most seamless shopping experience, and part of that is providing customers with multiple ways to pay. Point-of-sale technology developers should consider using solutions that allow retailers to offer mobile payments, whether it’s through mobile POS extensions, near field communications, QR codes, Bluetooth beacons, or other channels.