Mobile payment users to hit 141m this year

Global mobile payment users will soar 38.2% year on year to surpass 141m in 2011, according to research by Gartner, but the analyst house claims that the growth rate is slower than anticipated. Global mobile payment volume is expected to reach USD86.1bn this year, some 75.9% higher than the USD48.9bn generated last year. Despite the strong figures, Gartner claims that developing markets are not performing as expected, with firms failing to capitalise on favourable conditions such as high mobile penetration and low banking penetration.

Gartner analyst Sandy Shen believes that mass adoption of near field communication (NFC) services is still some four years away, with service providers in developed markets yet to “realise the complexity of the service model”. He believes that the hype surrounding mobile payments should be taken with “a pinch of salt” and that service providers should focus on the most popular mobile payment activity among consumers such as money transfer, bill payment and prepaid top-up, in order to kick-start services.

Shen’s views contrast with many other analyst houses that forecast mass adoption of mobile payments over the coming months. Research by KPMG earlier this month suggests that mobile payments in its various forms will become mainstream in two years. Gartner’s estimates are also considerably more conservative than those of Juniper research, which claims that total mobile payments spend, including money transfers and NFC transactions, will hit USD240bn this year, before trebling to be worth USD670bn by 2015.

A raft of firms from network operators to banks and even smartphone operating systems are developing proprietary mobile payments in preparation to take advantage of the expected consumer demand. Google revealed plans to launch its own service, ‘Google Wallet’, earlier this year, while Isis, the mobile payments joint venture from AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile, recently announced that they will work with four major credit card providers to power a mobile wallet. Meanwhile, PayPal continues to make waves in the fledgling market, with parent company eBay claiming this week that it will record some USD3bn in mobile payments before the end of the year, up from just USD750m in 2010.

Related reading

Leave a comment