OPERATIONS

Mobile payments still stuck in neutral

BY Marianne Wilson

Consumers love using their smartphones when shopping — with one big exception.

A new study by GfK shows that the adoption of mobile payments in the U.S. – and globally – remains low. Just 17% of U.S. consumers have used their smartphone, tablet, or other mobile device to pay for a product (including payments via services like PayPal and Venmo) in the past six months. This compares to 29% in the Asia Pacific region, and the global average of 19%.

However, payments via mobile may pick up going forward. Twenty-eight percent of U.S. consumers said they “look forward to … pay[ing] for more and more transactions” via mobile devices – almost double the 2017 level of 17%.

In other findings, the new FutureBuy report from GkK revealed that 45% of all U.S. consumers believe that their smartphones and/or tablets are “quickly becoming [their] most important” shopping tools. That’s higher than the 2017 level of 29%) – a leap of roughly one-third in just one year.

The number-one use of smartphones during the shopping process is comparing prices, cited by 36% of mobile shoppers. Other common smartphone tasks include gathering product information (30%) and checking product reviews (30%

“The desire or need to shop is often spontaneous, and most consumers have their smartphones nearby at all times,” said Joe Beier, executive VP of consumer insights at GfK. “So it is no surprise that mobile technology is playing a growing – and increasingly complex – role in shopper journeys. While shopping online overall is driven largely by a search for savings, the mobile component is often about research on-the-go. And we should not see traditional retail as somehow pitted against the mobile element; often they work together – and those who can deliver a seamless experience will be more likely to capture the sale.”

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