GATE (Global Acceptance Transaction Engine) has released its Mobile Wallet Trends Annual Report, highlighting trends in both mobile wallet and mobile payment usage across global markets.
Mobile wallets are still in early development in most countries, where some areas are starting to see an uptick in success. Worldwide, 2.07 billion consumers will use a mobile wallet to make a purchase in 2019; this is up nearly 30 percent from the 1.6 billion consumers recorded at the end of 2017. China is currently the largest adopter of mobile payments, but other countries are starting to catch up.
“Trends in the ecosystem have clearly shown China leading the adaption of wallets such as Alipay and WeChat, with QR codes playing a crucial role in their growth. However, the usage abroad for these wallets seems hampered via the lack of QR acceptance points, as NFC remains the method of choice for the Western world,” says Mark Gerban, chief commercial officer of GATE.
India has also seen increases in mobile payment usage due to governmental demonetization and the African market has seen strong growth as well due to factors such as low barriers to market entry.
Despite the growth seen in these regions, other markets will need to consider several factors to also become key players in the mobile payment industry, such as:
- Growth Opportunities: generational differences greatly influence payment mechanisms, as well as the availability of technology
- Online Merchant Needs: fraud reduction and compliance regulations, which vary from country to country, play a role in the creation of new payment mechanisms
- Offline Merchant Needs: increased efficiency, cost savings to the merchant and increased customer loyalty are all benefits to entering the mobile payment space
The report goes on to highlight the potential mobile wallets represent to the globally underbanked population. Over 1.7 billion adults (21% of the world’s total population) do not have access to a traditional bank account. A billion of these adults do have access to a mobile phone, though, and are potential customers for mobile wallets.
Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay have entered the market in recent years and have started seeing some success. However, their growth is hindered by limitations such as:
- Apple Pay: product works only on Apple hardware, which brought about the creation of Apple Card
- Samsung Pay: only a limited number of flagship devices are currently enabled and requires internet connectivity to function on a long-term basis
- Google Pay: requires internet connectivity to function on a long-term basis, which can limit growth in certain markets such as India and Africa, traditionally Android-dominated markets
Apple, Google and Samsung have invested heavily in proprietary wallets, but revenue is still small. Hardware stickiness and loyalty seem to be the greatest value propositions for these mobile wallets, but long-term data is needed to confirm this assumption. Larger companies such as Walmart and Amazon, however, have seen success with their payment apps by improving their customer experience and, therefore, their loyalty. Continuous customer engagement seems to be an area of high potential success, evidenced by companies with outstanding user experiences, such as Uber.
“Payments is a critical part of the value chain that allows for continuous customer engagement. As we have seen with many types of e-wallets and mobile payment systems, offering a relevant payment experience for specific cohorts will help uptick activity and brand loyalty. This ultimately leads to higher customer satisfaction, increased revenue and a better product experience,” adds Gerban.
Mobile wallets may still be in their infancy in many countries, but the use of technology and features that improve user experience will drive higher adoption and engagement.