Mobile Commerce to Hit Nearly 200 Billion Transactions by 2019

Rather than focusing purely on payments, stakeholders need to emphasize synergies between mobile payment and loyalty to persuade retailers to engage.

mobility and mobile commerce

Mobile phone and tablet users will make 195 billion mobile commerce transactions annually by 2019, up from 72 billion this year, according to a report from Juniper Research.

The study indicated the highest growth rates are expected in the near-field communications (NFC) sector, a form of short-range wireless communication that can be used for contactless payment systems.

Here, usage is expected to be buoyed by the launch of Apple Pay, which has major retailers like Walmart and Target in the fold, together with a host of anticipated deployments by banks using solutions based on Host Card Emulation (HCE) technology.

"iPhone owners typically spend more via their handsets, but that tends to reflect the higher average spend on retail in general—they simply constitute a wealthier demographic," Dr. Windsor Holden, Juniper's head of forecasting and consultancy, told eWEEK. "But as a developer, that doesn't mean you should ignore Android, even if you're focusing on higher-end products. Retailers need to maximize the audience, and I don't know of any retailer whose audience is comprised solely of iOS users."

The report also indicated there is significant transactional migration from desktop to mobile as consumers increasingly media-stack, such as making purchases on their devices while watching TV.

The study concluded that rather than focusing purely on payments, stakeholders need to emphasize the synergies between mobile payment and loyalty to persuade retailers to become engaged.

"[Security] concerns essentially revolve around the security of the transaction—that a hack could expose card and bank details. These concerns broadly echo those in the wider online space, but are perhaps more pronounced due to the relative maturity of desktop e-commerce, and due to the fact that consumers don't really have any awareness of how secure their phones actually are," Holden said.

Meanwhile, the report observed that many mobile ticketing deployments had seen rapid adoption rates immediately post-launch, suggesting a pent-up demand for such services.

In the United States, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's mTicket accounted for 15 percent of ticket sales within nine months of launch, while New York Waterways has reached 25 percent in less than two years.

Overall, the highest net increase in transaction volumes will occur in the digital goods sector, fueled by a surge in micropayments for in-app purchases, notably within arenas such as social gaming.

The report highlighted the opportunity for digital content monetization presented by direct carrier billing, particularly within underbanked regions and demographics.

Holden noted that developing markets are critical incubators for m-commerce, due to the combination of low banked penetration and high mobile penetration, which makes them prime markets in this regard.

He explained that several sub-Saharan African markets, including Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Ghana, now have several million consumers with mobile wallets.