June 1, 2012
Data point: While mobile brands forge ahead, consumers wary of m-payments
Already valued at more than $171 billion globally, the mobile payment market is set to explode. One driver is the spread of NFC-enabled smartphones, which allow users to pay for items simply by tapping their phone to a sensor. In 2011, more than 30 million such handsets were sold, a number set to grow roughly 20-fold by 2016, according to recent research. As this technology becomes mainstream, brands are jumping on the m-payment bandwagon. In the U.S., AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless are looking to debut the Isis Mobile Wallet this summer, while Sprint is supporting Google Wallet (enticing subscribers with a $10 credit). PayPal is pushing its own mobile payment solution, which it’s rolling out to 15 major retailers later this month, including Foot Locker, JCPenney and Barnes & Noble.
The big question is, will consumers take to this new behavior? Significant percentages are skeptical, according to research from Nielsen. North American consumers are most resistant, with around half saying they probably or definitely would not use their phone to make payments in shops and restaurants. On the other end of the spectrum, Latin Americans are most open to the idea: Around half report they would probably or definitely use a mobile payment system. With the global balance tilting firmly in favor of the skeptics, brands will need to persuade consumers of the utility and security of m-payments. For a broad overview of mobile trends, check out our recent report, 15 Ways Mobile Will Change Our Lives.