Even though the mobile payments movement is only in its frontier stages, it’s grown rapidly in recent years with worldwide payments reaching $163.1 billion in 2012. That figure jumped to $235.4 billion by the end of 2013 (Gartner). A recent Nielsen report about the state of the industry sheds light on the particularities of this growing trend.
The important points: individuals who do make use of mobile payment technology love it, the report shows that 40% of mobile wallet users say mobile is now their primary mode of payment. Men (47%) and women (53%) use the digital services in relatively equal numbers. Mobile payments are also reasonably equal among various income levels, with the highest usage among those making less than $50,000 (32%), and more than $100,000 (29%). Unsurprisingly, users age 18-34 account for the majority (55%) of users, while those age 35-54 make up the other bulk of users (35%).
Perhaps the most surprising take away from Nielsen’s report: people actually like using QR codes. If you, like me… like many, thought QR codes had gone the way of the dinosaur, they are actually alive and well in the mobile payments industry. The study found that 45% of the consumers surveyed prefer using QR codes to buy things to any other digital payment method. Beside QR codes, mobile payments are made in an array of forms including near field communication (NFC), innovative mobile wallets (Passbook, MasterCard PayPass), mobile card processors (NewtPay, Square), Bluetooth low energy (LE)-based payment, and a host of others.
There is no denying the impact that digital connectivity is having on our daily routines, and increasingly digital is even transforming the way we pay. While the mobile wallet has been slow to gain traction in the United States, that may change as Apple and other key players show greater interest and move to make more investments in mobile payment technology. The study reveals the key to converting more people to digital payment methods is through reward and loyalty programs; 69% of consumers would be willing to convert if they were to receive discounts for doing so, or if a rewards program was integrated with its use.