Mobile Payments Remain Rare This Holiday Season

The holiday season is fast approaching and retailers are urging customers to make purchases on mobile for a better deal. However, some shoppers don’t want to make purchases via a mobile wallet, despite its convenience. eMarketer reported on which mobile payment apps smartphone users plan to make purchases during this year’s holiday season. Most shoppers are concerned with security issues and don’t know enough about mobile wallets in general. We’ll find out what the real results are post holiday season and how mobile payments can improve in the near future.

eMarketer estimates that 22.6 million people in the US will use a mobile device to pay for a transaction at the point of sale (POS) this year. That’s up 41.7% over 2014, and eMarketer expects even faster growth next year. But it still only accounts for 12.7% of smartphone users.

Types of Mobile Payment Apps with Which US Smartphone Owners Plan to Make Purchases During the Holiday Season, Aug 2015 (% of respondents)

Smartphone owners surveyed in August 2015 by SessionM appeared more sanguine about mobile payments adoption—39% said they would use a mobile payment app to make a purchase during the holiday season this year. It’s possible that some respondents interpreted the question to include making a mobile payment for a mobile purchase, and the share that chose any given option among the true mobile payments services listed was low.

Google’s Android Pay app was the No. 1 response, at 8%, just 1 percentage point ahead of Apple Wallet. Those two options received 10% support each from male respondents, who were also more likely to report using Samsung Pay or the apps of specific retailers.

Gallup found in January 2015 that just 13% of US adult smartphone owners had a mobile wallet on their phone—and most of those had never or almost never used it.

Primary Reason that US Digital Wallet Non-Users Are Unlikely to Use a Digital Wallet, Jan 2015 (% of respondents)

Among the vast majority of smartphone owners without a mobile wallet, most said they were forgoing the apps because of security concerns. One in five said they did not know enough about digital wallets to make a decision, and 14% did not see the benefits.

Among the Gallup respondents who did use digital wallets, Google’s was most popular, at 35%, followed by Apple Pay (24%) and PayPal (22%).

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