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Marketing in Canada: Mobile Payments on the Horizon

Lack of NFC-enabled phones could be holding back adoption

October 6, 2014

The use of mobile payments is steadily gaining traction in the US, though hurdles to widespread adoption remain. Similar conditions are evident in Canada, where the fragmented market and the lack of devices enabled with near field communication (NFC) are slowing growth and prolonging a mobile payments future.

According to May 2013 research from technology market analysis firm Technology Strategies International, half of smartphone owners in Canada said they have used their phones to make payments, and by 2017, there will be almost 3 million regular mobile payment users—specifically those making NFC payments.

Mobile Payment Metrics in Canada, May 2013

While the majority of digital purchases are being made on desktop devices, smartphone and tablet digital purchases are not far behind. In fact, almost a third of 18- to 34-year-olds are making purchases via their smartphone device, according to an Ipsos Reid survey from July 2014.

Devices Used to Make Digital Purchases According to Digital Buyers in Canada, by Age, July 2014 (% of respondents in each group)

In a February 2014 survey from payment processor TSYS, some 6% of internet users in Canada said they have made a payment at a retail location with a mobile device. That number might seem low because credit and debit cards are still the preferred payment method. TSYS also found that more than two-thirds of respondents reported using their credit and debit cards to pay for purchases.

Preferred Payment Method Among Internet Users in Canada, Feb 2014 (% of total)

The lack of NFC-enabled smartphones available could be what’s holding back adoption. Only 9.6% of smartphone owners in Canada polled by Technology Strategies International said they owned one. That number is expected to increase to 50.0% by 2017.

Get more on this topic with the full eMarketer report, “US Mobile Payments 2014: Updated Forecast and Key Trends Driving Growth.”

This report answers these key questions:

  • How much will US consumers spend using their mobile phones to pay at the point of sale between 2014 and 2018?
  • How many people in the US will use proximity mobile payments?li>
  • What drivers, inhibitors and other key trends are at play in the mobile payments market?

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