Is it possible that, as far as mobile payments have come already, the market could actually be several times larger than it currently is? According to the Global Mobile Payment Snapshot 2014 from mobile payments solutions provider Omlis, the answer is, shockingly, yes.
The Omlis study provides some extremely stark numbers about the concept of mobile payments worldwide today, beginning with perhaps the biggest point of all: there are 1.3 billion active credit and debit accounts in the world today, but there are over five billion mobile phone accounts worldwide. Granted, some of those mobile phone accounts might not be able to handle mobile payment systems, but even if just half of those accounts could, that's room to nearly double the total active credit and debit account numbers out there. But the Omlis study is expecting some big gains all the same.
For instance, while many would figure that North America would be a major presence in the mobile payment arena, the scope of that presence may be surprising. Mobile transactions have nearly doubled in the region just since last year, and now, mobile transactions account for nearly one in five—17 percent—transactions made. Europe is likewise a major part of the action, with 12.4 percent of all transactions coming from mobile devices, focused on retail transactions, travel and tickets, and digital goods. Asia is also a major force in the field, as 32 percent of the region shops with mobile, while just 21 percent turn to the PC. But when it comes to mobile commerce as a banking function, Australia may be a top contender with 60 percent of bank transactions done with near-field communications (NFC) contactless payments in 2013.
Meanwhile, Latin America expects to bring in 22.31 million total mobile payment users by 2016, with Brazil, Chile and Mexico representing the highest rates of adoption in the country. Perhaps the biggest shock in the study comes from Africa, where users represent the single largest concentration of mobile payment users in the world, accounting for 52 percent of all mobile money services.
Omlis' CEO, Markus Milsted, offered up some commentary on this issue, saying “Differentiation in global mobile payment trends demonstrates the immense opportunities for organizations involved in the mobile payments space. The predictions for growth signal that this is an industry that will see immense changes as contrasting markets expand upon current practices and usage.”
That's a sound summary of the market as a whole. It's clear there are differences between the markets, and having a handle on what works in one market and doesn't work in another—mobile payments for train tickets, for example, would likely work a lot better in Europe than in the Americas—is going to give markets a clear roadmap of where to go and what to bring out. Sure, there's room for innovation, but with clear differences already appearing, working with those differences as presented should yield success. We have video on this and a variety of other topics available at this link.
While the mobile payments picture is likely to change in the years to come, one thing is clear: there are big opportunities afoot in the field, and with big opportunities comes a major upside, as well as potential risks. This market is too big to not call competitors into the field, and facing down said competitors will likely be a big part of the market for some time to come.
Edited by Maurice Nagle
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