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US mobile payments staging a comeback

A new report reveals that the use of mobile wallets and mobile payments by US consumers has rebounded to 2016 levels or higher after a two-year decline.

The use of any mobile payment has increased from 48% in 2018 to 60% in 2019. In comparison, in 2016 53% reported using a mobile wallet. Similar findings are seen when usage of universal mobile payment and digital services wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay is separated from usage of retailer-specific wallets like those of Starbucks and Walmart. Online service providers with built-in payments like Uber and Airbnb have also seen impressive growth from 2018 (36% vs 28%).

US mobile paymentsMobile is increasingly becoming a major part of consumer shopping in the US. Six in 10 report either browsing or shopping via mobile device in 2019. Mobile shopping is much more common among younger adults than others. For example, 57% of consumers 18 to 34 years or age have purchased a product or services through their smartphone compared to 19% of those 65 or older.

The use of conversational interfaces through a device like a smartphone or smart speaker is currently relatively low. Two in 10 (22%) use the conversational interface on their smartphone and about 1 in 10 (12%) are using a smart speaker. The use of these interfaces for payment transactions (bill pay, ordering food, and purchasing goods and services) still has room to grow.

“There was a lot of hype around the release of mobile wallets a few years ago and, once people started using them, they may have encountered spotty acceptance of mobile payments and app difficulties and stopped using them,” says Peter Reville, director of Primary Data Services at Mercator Advisory Group.

“We are seeing a resurgence of usage in 2019 with increased acceptance at POS, increased online use, and increased customer comfort.”

Mobile Payments: Making a Comeback, the latest report from Mercator Advisory Group, is based on a sample of 3,002 US adults surveyed in the annual online Payments survey of Mercator’s North American PaymentsInsights series, conducted in June 2019.

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