New Study Shows Mobile Payments Grew in Popularity and Usage in 2016

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

shutterstock_248352400It’s easy to take for granted how amazing the modern smartphone is. In essence, modern phones are powerful, mobile computers with a phone function. Mobile marketing provides a lot of avenues for businesses to reach out to customers, but businesses can also benefit by allowing customers to use mobile devices as payment methods for online and in-store shopping. A recent global study found that mobile payments are growing in popularity and usage.

According to Mobile Ecosystem Forum’s annual Mobile Money Report, mobile devices are being used more frequently for monetary transactions. According to the report, three out of four (78 percent) consumers made a purchase using a mobile device last year. This is an increase of 4 percent from the previous report.

While many of the transactions involve online payments or banking transactions, there was a definite increase in the number of people using mobile devices for in-store payments. Of the 6,000 consumers surveyed in nine countries, 18 percent said they used their mobile phone to pay in a store in 2016, up from just 8 percent in the previous report.

The report also identified ways businesses could improve their mobile payment offerings. According to the report, one in five abandoned a mobile payment because the process took too long, and nearly a third (31 percent) did so because too much sensitive information was asked of them.

“The research shows we can still do more to improve payment flows, improve consumer trust in mobile money to allay privacy and security concerns,” said Rimma Perelmuter, CEO at Mobile Ecosystem Forum according to media reports. “But overall, the news is good: mobile remains the key driver of online commerce.”

There are several ways small business owners can use this data to their advantage. The obvious way to start is for businesses to allow for more mobile payments in their store. There are certainly costs involved with setting up mobile payment systems and per transaction fees, but if it encourages more people to buy from a retailer, it’s worth the investment.

The data also provides another selling point that can be used in online marketing campaigns. It would probably be a very small selling point, but it might be the deciding factor for some potential customers. It could be a sentence that says, “Now accepting mobile payments.” or just the icon of popular mobile payment systems like Apple Pay, PayPal or Google Wallet.

It’s important for businesses to keep pace with trends of their customers, rather than expecting consumers to inconvenience themselves in order to continue shopping at a retailer. Imagine trying to buy a new TV but one store will only accept payment in cash and the other takes credit and debit cards. All things being equal, more people would shop from the retailer that accepts debit and credit cards since they are more likely to have that form of payment readily available.

The data makes it clear that more people are using mobile payments and there’s no reason to think that trend will slow down in the near future. In time, refusing to accept mobile payments could be just as detrimental as refusing to accept credit and debit cards. In an ever-growing marketplace, business owners need to pursue every advantage and allowing mobile payments could provide such an advantage.

For more recent news about online marketing, read this article on a study that examined how consumers feel about in-store pickup for online shopping.

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