With Android Pay on the Way, What Do UK Consumers Say? - eMarketer

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With Android Pay on the Way, What Do UK Consumers Say?

Consumers comfortable with contactless cards; could mobile payments be next?

April 8, 2016

According to full-year 2015 data from The UK Cards Association, the trade body for card payments in the country, £7.75 billion ($11.84 billion) was spent via contactless cards last year, marking the second year of over 200% growth.

UK Contactless Card Spending, 2013-2015 (billions of £ and % change)

This offers clear evidence that UK consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable with the concept of contactless payments. But will that comfort level translate into mobile payment uptake? Apple is already playing in this space, of course, and Google looks set to enter the UK market in the coming months with its Android Pay offering. Their relative potential for success, though, remains unclear.

For one, UK consumers have eyed many of the current mobile payment or wallet solutions with a degree of caution. Trust levels are stuck in stasis, in fact. More telling than customer attitudes, though, has been Apple's reluctance to cite any hard data for levels of uptake of its Apple Pay service. Such a silence usually points toward a less-than-stellar performance.

Smartphone Users in Select Countries Who Make Mobile Payments*, Oct 2015 (% of respondents)

October 2015 data from the UK’s Office of Communications (Ofcom) painted a picture of UK smartphone users as some of the world’s leading proponents of mobile payments. According to the study, only Italy and the US had larger proportions of smartphone users employing such technology.

Time will tell, but a major new player on the scene allied with a consumer base already well-versed in contactless payments points toward good potential for mobile payments in the UK.

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