Mobile Payments Will Triple in the US in 2016 - eMarketer

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Mobile Payments Will Triple in the US in 2016

Nearly one in five smartphone users will use mobile payments by next year

October 26, 2015

The number of people in the US using their phones to pay for goods and services at the point of sale will continue to climb steadily, with 2016 being a year of significant growth for the technology. According to the latest proximity mobile payments forecast from eMarketer, the total value of mobile payment transactions in the US will grow 210% in 2016.

US Proximity Mobile Payment Forecast, 2014-2019

eMarketer defines proximity mobile payments as point-of-sale transactions that use mobile phones as a payment method, via tapping, waving and similar functionality.

In 2015, mobile payments will total $8.71 billion in the US, with users spending an average of nearly $376 annually using their mobile phone as a payment method. By 2016, total mobile payment transactions will reach $27.05 billion, with users spending an average of $721.47 annually. Total mobile payment sales will rise faster than average spending per user in 2016 because of the growth in the number of overall users of the technology.

“Several factors will drive substantial mobile payments growth in the US. Mobile wallets like Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay will become a standard feature on new smartphones,” said eMarketer analyst Bryan Yeager. “Also, more merchants will adopt point-of-sale systems that can accept mobile payments, and incentives like promotions and loyalty programs will be integrated to attract new users.”

eMarketer expects there will be 23.2 million people in the US using proximity mobile payments in 2015. By 2016, that will grow 61.8% to 37.5 million. Even as more consumers adopt the technology, there will continue to be a gap between younger and older generations. In 2015, 17.5% of 25- to 34-year-olds will use a mobile payment method, vs. just 3.5% of those 65 and older. By 2017, 37.0% of the younger age group will have adopted the technology, compared with just 6.3% of the 65 and over group.

US Proximity Mobile Payment User Penetration, by Age, 2014-2019 (% of smartphone users)

“Younger consumers generally have fewer apprehensions when it comes to experimenting with and eventually adopting new technologies,” said Yeager. “That’s certainly true for mobile payments, where security concerns are more pronounced among older consumers. Ultimately, mobile wallets will need to have a strong track record of security to attract more users across all demographics long-term.”

Also driving growth are changes in the types of purchases made using mobile payments. eMarketer expects that consumers will move beyond primarily buying low-priced goods, below $20, with mobile payments to a wider array of price points. In 2015, medium-priced purchases, ranging from $20 to $100, will comprise 45.5% of all mobile payment transactions in 2015, growing to 63.9% by 2018. Low-priced transactions will decline in proportion throughout the forecast period.

eMarketer's forecasts and estimates are based on an analysis of quantitative and qualitative data from research firms, government agencies, media firms and public companies, plus interviews with top executives at publishers, ad buyers and agencies. Data is weighted based on methodology and soundness. Each eMarketer forecast fits within the larger matrix of all its forecasts, with the same assumptions and general framework used to project figures in a wide variety of areas. Regular reevaluation of available data means the forecasts reflect the latest business developments, technology trends and economic changes.

This forecast was released at the 2015 Money 20/20 conference.

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