Every quarter or so, another survey is published indicating many consumers are interested in mobile wallets and mobile payments. OK. I believe that mobile payments are inevitable as a mainstream phenomenon; the independent variable is time.
When and in what forms will mobile payments go mainstream? That’s the question that many vendors and companies like Google are asking. Another issue: mobile payments can be defined in various ways to include carrier billing, mobile wallets used at a physical POS and mobile bill paying.
A relatively recent survey (n=1,155 US adults) by the Raddon Financial Group indicates that that younger adults (Gen Y) are most interested and most likely to see value in mobile wallets.
Source: Raddon Financial Group (2012)
This survey reflects slightly more and perhaps growing enthusiasm vs. previous consumer surveys. For example, last year Opus Research found (n=1,501) that as a general matter, the majority of US adults weren’t interested in mobile payments.
Source: Opus Research (August, 2012; n=1,501)
In the survey immediately above (which I generated), those between 25 and 44 were most interested in mobile payments, which is generally consistent with the Raddon findings. Those living in urban areas were also more interested than suburban or rural users. In addition, those earning below $25K and above $50K were more interested in mobile wallets/payments than those in-between.
It’s very hard in abstract surveys to gauge consumer response to mobile wallets and mobile payments. The truth is that most consumers don’t see the current credit card system as being broken. They need to be sold on the benefits of mobile wallets. Many companies, including Google, believe this will happen when loyalty offers and other incentives are combined with payments.
It’s also much more likely that consumers will see value in a concrete situation where benefits are obvious (e.g., parking apps or Starbucks cards).