Wrapping Our Heads Around Mobile Payment Stats
By Optism Team, Nov 30, 2012
Over the past month, we have seen a number of interesting announcements and predictions regarding mobile payments. The numbers are both very large and seemingly contradicting.
The term “mobile payment” can mean any number of three different types of mobile transactions. It can mean swiping your phone with your NFC chip or QR Code at a point of sale reader. It can mean sending money to friend via your phone as your divvy up the restaurant check. Or it can mean buying a product online through a mobile browser or app and having the goods shipped to your house. It would make sense to distinguish between these types of transactions, for example defining these transactions as mobile payments, mobile transfers and mobile shopping respectively with all mobile transactions defined as mobile commerce. As we look at global keyword popularity, we can see that the mobile payments and mobile shopping have taken over for mobile commerce as the most popular term. Now that we have some context about the terms, let us look at the mobile transaction numbers.
IDC announced that worldwide mobile payments will reach $1 trillion by 2017. This forecast includes all mobile commerce components; payments, shopping and transfer. Meanwhile, Juniper Research said that this number will be $1.3 trillion in 2017 while the Yankee Group said it will be only $366 million by 2016. Obviously, there is not a wide consensus in collective mobile payment forecasts.
eMarketer came out said that US mobile proximity payments will reach $62 billion by 2016. This forecast only includes mobile transactions at the local level using your NFC or QR code apps. Currently, eMarketer says that mobile payments will total $600M for 2012 and $2.1 billion for 2013. We mentioned these numbers in our blog post, Are We Setting Our Goals Too Low on Mobile Payments? Growth in these numbers, we predict, will be on the ability of mobile payment solutions to make our lives easier — not just offer another way to pay for goods.
Square announced that they are processing $10 billion dollars in mobile payments annually in the US. This number is up from an $8B run rate in September, so they are growing by 10% a month or about 200% a year. If the numbers continue to grow they will be processing $30 billion dollars annually by this time next year. Even if its growth slows slightly, one can easily see that Square will be processing well over $100 billion in mobile payments by 2016. PayPal also announced that they too are processing mobile payment transactions at $10 billion dollar annual clip with their PayPal Here devices. If Square and PayPal are already doing about a billion in a month, then the mobile proximity payment forecast of $2.1 billion for 2013 is already in jeopardy.
No matter what we call mobile payment transactions, everyone's guess is as good as yours. We will continue to research these numbers — looking at both mobile payment statistics and the reasons for the growth.