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The rise of mpayments

Whilst China remains the leader, and Norway in second postion, the UK now currently ranks third in the world when it comes to mobile wallet adoption. Almost a quarter of smartphone users now opt for this method of payment at the checkout. 

Whilst mobile payment was in decline back in 2017, over the last two years consumer trust has grown and the simple fact is that mobile payment is quicker, easier and more convenient. After contactless payment with cards, mobile payment is the next logical option. 

Research from Merchant Machine showed that almost half of 18-24-year-olds already have a mobile wallet and a further 32% were attracted to the idea of it. Perhaps unsurprisingly, older generations interest is growing, but with far less vigour. 

An Opinion Matters poll for Kalixa found a majority of UK internet users under 67 would make more payments via mobile phone if they were offered loyalty points or incentives. Many consumers are already used to using apps from brands like Starbucks to manage their loyalty accounts. To retailers, these offer a perfect opportunity to process both payments and rewards in one place. And there is every reason for retailers to embrace this. According to InfoScout’s survey, 13.3% of consumers say they have not used mobile payments because they already get rewards or points for using a different payment method specifically.

The happy coincidence of all of these trends is that mobile payments can be used not just to process transactions and not just to give customers rewards, but smartphones can be the engine that fuels retailers’ consumer data collection odyssey. These are the devices in the palm of our hands, every day, at every retail location we visit. They know when we are in a branch, they can know which are our favourite products and back-end data infrastructure can join the dots to make for more effective future product marketing.

It is now a question of which payment app will prove the most popular with consumers. Apple Pay has dominated the UK market, yet globally it falls behind WeChat Pay, Alipay and PayPal. Perhaps in the very near future, we will say goodbye to paying for goods at the till, especially with apps like Amazon GGO and Sainbury's SmartShop launching. 

Retailers who want to keep ahead of the curve should look east to the retail powerhouses of JD.com and Alibaba

Key takeaway

Incentives and loyalty points encourage mobile payments.