Several years ago many analysts projected that “mobile payments” and “mobile wallets” would become massive, multi-billion-dollar markets. With the exception of mobile e-commerce, it hasn’t happened.
The term “mobile payments” is used loosely to refer to a range of different types of activities. However imprecise use of the term creates confusion and widely varying assessments of the outlook for “mobile payments.” What we mean here by “mobile payments” is more specific: using a smartphone (and associated apps) as a credit card or wallet replacement in the real world.
That was the concept behind near-field communications (NFC) based Google Wallet. The assumption was that Google’s clout and visibility would propel both NFC and Google Wallet into the mainstream. However, two years later it’s safe to say that Google Wallet, at least as originally conceived, has failed.
By contrast, so-called "m-commerce" and mobile payments through specific apps have shown increasing momentum. But the broad concept of a "horizontal" mobile wallet remains mostly undesirable to US consumers (at least in the abstract).
A year ago Opus Research surveyed roughly 1,500 adults to determine their awareness and demand for mobile wallets. The question was: “How interested are you in using you mobile phone to pay for things and replace cash or your credit cards?” There were four potential responses. In order of waning enthusiasm they were:
Featured Research is available to registered users only.
For more information on becoming an I2G client, please contact Pete Headrick (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Apple announced this morning that it had sold more than 9 million iPhone 5s and 5c devices this past weekend. It did not indicate how many of the 9 million were 5c devices vs. 5s devices. Most of the demand globally is likely to have been for the 5s. That's what our survey showed (see below).
The market became very nervous after the 5c went on sale for pre-orders a week ago and Apple didn't issue a press release last Monday. Many institutional investors sold Apple shares. Then the very postive 5s reviews came out stoking consumer demand.
Here's what Apple said in its release this morning:
Apple today announced it has sold a record-breaking nine million new iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c models, just three days after the launch of the new iPhones on September 20. In addition, more than 200 million iOS devices are now running the completely redesigned iOS 7, making it the fastest software upgrade in history.
Essentially the 5s sold out of its initial supply.
Source: Opus Research, n=1,508 US adults (Sept 16 – 19 2013)
Last year Apple said it had sold 5 million iPhones during its first weekend. That was a record at the time. This nearly doubles it. The company also announced this morning that since iOS7 became available late last week, 200 million devices around the world have been upgraded.
I was concerned that I would dislike or be ambivalent about the new OS. However I actually like it quite a bit.
The iPhone 5s sellout will only fuel further demand for the device. Supplies of the 5c remain available. But the public seems to recognize the 5c as "last year's model" with a new coat of paint. While that's not entirely true (there are some upgrades) demand for the 5c has been much less than the 5s as our survey last week predicted.
Update: Localytics now answers the 5s vs. 5c sales question, saying that the 5s outsold the other device by a factor of more than 3X in the US and an even larger margin outside the US:
According to the Wall Street Journal, "PayPal is near a deal to buy Braintree Payments Solutions." Braintree has had great success as a payments platform and processor both for e-commerce and in mobile.
Braintree is behind payment processing for companies such as Uber, AirBnB, LivingSocial and OpenTable among others. The company has roughly 4,000 customers according to the WSJ piece.
Braintree processes roughly $12 billion in payments annually, about $4 billion of which come from mobile commerce transactions. PayPal, by contrast said that it would process roughly $20 billion in mobile payments in 2013.
The deal would help further accelerate PayPal's mobile business. PayPal would also acquire Venmo, a P2P payments aoo, that Braintree bought in 2012 for just over $26 million.
Among mobile wallet/payments companies PayPal is far and away the best-known brand, though US consumers still show relatively little interest in generic "mobile wallets," according to our survey data.
Google Wallet has largely failed to date and other "mobile wallets" and mobile payments providers are almost totally unknown to the public. This deal would help cement PayPal's leadership in mobile payments.
Recently PayPal introduced Beacon, a Bluetooth low energy (BLE) in-store payments and indoor-location solution that is helping, together with Apple, show NFC the door in North America.
On September 10, Apple formally unveiled the long-anticipated iPhone 5s and the rumored iPhone 5c. The 5c takes the place of the current iPhone 5 in Apple’s iPhone line-up. It’s essentially the same device with a few upgrades and a colorful polycarbonate exterior. The 5c is $100 less expensive than the “flagship” 5s. Speculation about what the “c” stands for has ranged from “cheap” to “China” and “color.”
On September 13, the 5c became available for pre-order (Apple isn’t allowing pre-orders of the 5s). Analysts and journalists had expected a triumphant press release the following Monday. But no such release came, leading to speculation that the 5c was a dud and had failed to generate significant pre-orders.
This weekend Apple launches the 5s amid rumors of "severly constrained" supplies.
Rather than wait for an official press release on September 23, we ￼conducted an online survey of 1,508 US adults between (September 16 and ￼September 19) to assess demand for the new iPhones vs. competitors. ￼￼We asked survey respondents, “Which of the following [handsets] would you like as your next ￼mobile phone?” They were permitted to select a single answer from a ￼randomized list of options.
Featured Research is available to registered users only.
For more information on becoming an I2G client, please contact Pete Headrick (email@example.com).
Today 91% of American adults own mobile phones according to new data from The Pew Research Center. More than 61% (64% per Nielsen) own smartphones. In this latest survey Pew takes a look at common activities on mobile devices (including non-smartphones).
Pew found that 81% of mobile phone owners text, the most common activity, while 60% access the internet. Just under half (49%) use maps or access location-based information on their handsets. All these percentages are higher if non-smartphones are excluded.
There are approximately 250 million US adults today. If 91% own mobile phones that means about 228 million adults in real numbers. Of that group about 146 million own smartphones (per Nielsen's 64%). If kids and teens are added in we easily have in excess of 150 million smartphones in the US market.
If 60% of adult mobile phone owners in the US access the internet that would be roughly 137 million people (not counting teens and kids).
Among the 60% going online from their mobile handsets (not including tablets) Pew says the following:
African-Americans and Hispanics are more likely to do so than whites. Younger adults, those with at least some college education, and those with an annual household income of over $75,000 a year are particularly likely to access the internet via cell phone. Those who live in rural areas are less likely than urban or suburbanites to have mobile internet access. Among those who use the internet or email on their phones, more than a third (34%) say that they mostly access the internet from their phone.
A recent Nielsen study found that 46% of US survey respondents relied exclusively on smartphones or tablets in conducting online research across a range of categories (i.e., retail, banking, gas and convenience). That same study found that, in the banking category, more than 50% of smartphone and tablet users did not use a PC to make purchase decisions (e.g., about credit cards).
What we're thus seeing is the emergence of a "mobile first" population in the US, which may be 50 million people on the low end and 75 million on the high end.
The first wave of iPhone 5S reviews have come out and they're essentially raves, exemplified by Walt Mossberg's superlative laden missive: “[T]he new iPhone 5s is a delight. Its hardware and software make it the best smartphone on the market.”
While there is some question about the early success of iPhone 5C pre-orders, the 5S is almost a sure sellout when it's released this weekend. According to a survey by Opus Research, the 5S is the most desired "next smartphone" available in the US market, while the 5C is in fourth place (after Galaxy and other Android devices).
However according to new data from Nielsen, 61% of recent smartphone buyers chose Android devices vs. 34% who bought iPhones. We'll see how those numbers are impacted, if at all, by the launch of the 5S.
Overall Nielsen says that in the US 64% of mobile subscribers are now owners of smartphones. Those in the 25 - 34 age group have the highest smartphone penetration at 81%, with teens 13 -17 closing in at 70%. Feature phones are now concentrated among those over 55 years of age.
Below is the current smartphone OS market-share distribution according to Nielsen:
As I wrote last week the advent of iBeacon and bluetooth low energy may effectively mean that NFC as an in-store mobile payments standard in the US market is dead. Google Wallet had placed a big bet on NFC payments but has been thwarted in its bid for adoption by two principal factors:
Google Wallet 1.0 thus was a failure. Google is now out with a new Android version (and soon iOS) is making a renewed bid for consumer adoption with a range of new features and a partial move away from NFC. In-store payments still depend on NFC and so won't be happening at scale any time soon for the same reasons cited above.
However the new features add utility and breadth to the user experience. Here's what's new:
Exactly a year ago we surveyed 1,501 US adults and found the vast majority were not interested in the idea of mobile wallets: 71% said "I'm not at all interested . . . in using [my] mobile phone to pay for things and replace cash or credit cards." Another 15% said they had only "limited interest." Only 14% had some interest or significant interest.
In specific contexts, where consumers see the tangible benefits of mobile wallets, these numbers change. But in the abstract the public remains largely uninterested in mobile wallets.
This morning the Pew Research Center released new survey data about mobile internet access. According to the findings, 93% of smartphone owners (and 63% of all mobile phone owners) go online with their handsets. Tablet usage was not part of this survey.
The most interesting finding, however, was that 34% of all those who go online with their phones do "most" of their internet browsing via mobile:
One third (34%) of cell internet users say that they mostly use their cell phone rather than some other device such as a desktop or laptop computer . . . Half (53%) of cell internet users say that they mostly go online from a device other than their cell phone, while 11% say that they use both their phone and some other device(s) equally.
Pew told me in email this number was basically the same percentage for smartphone and non-smartphone users.
Those who are "mostly mobile" include "young adults, non-whites, the less educated, and the less affluent." This is highly analogous to those who have a mobile phone but not a landine (or who essentially don't use a landline).
Nielsen's recent Mobile Path to Purchase study (sponsored by xAd, Telmetrics) found that in certain categories the "mostly mobile" or "mobile only" internet population was nearly 50 percent (or above 50% in the case of online banking). Indeed, in specific segments or verticals (e.g., Local) the numbers may exceed 50%. For example:
What we're witnessing is the rise of an audience that may not use the PC at all in certain cases or use it purely as a secondary matter. As a counterpoint, see the recent comScore-Jumptap data that show people prefer larger screens in many instances.
Once more sites and internet experiences are better optimized for mobile devices, however, we may see an accelaration of this mobile-first/mobile-only trend.
Last week news broke than McDonald's is considering rolling out mobile payments. Currently the McDonald's app is primarily a store locator. The app also offers nutrition information.
According to a Bloomberg report, the company has been testing mobile payments in Salt Lake City, Utah and in Austin, Texas. McDonald's has roughly 14,000 US stores and 35,000 globally.
Mobile payments would allow McDonald's patrons to pre-order meals online and then pick them up at the drive-thru window. Other fast-food chains have tested, are testing or now using mobile ordering/payments. The McDonald's app will also feature deals and rewards according to Bloomberg.
A mobile ordering/payments capability may also help McDonald's attract younger users and Millennials, who are less inclined than others to visit the QSR chain. According to an AdAge write-up of an NPD Group survey:
Millennials are indeed going to burger chains, but they are going less often. The hamburger category, which includes McDonald's, Wendy's and Burger King, still receives 29% of all millennials' quick-service visits, according to NPD, more than any other restaurant category. Fast casual, which includes chains like Chipotle, gets 6% of millennial quick-service traffic.
But hamburger chains have seen a 16% decline in traffic from Millennials since 2007, NPD said. In the year ended November 2012, Millennials made 3.6 billion visits to hamburger chains, down from 4.2 billion visits in the year ended November 2007. There was a 12% decline in quick-service restaurant visits by Millennials in the same time period.
Ultimately all QSR chains will offer mobile ordering/payments. And that will help acclimate a generation to using their smartphones as wallets to pay for things.
Once people are familiar and comfortable with mobile payments in a specific context (e.g., ordering food) they will be more inclined to embrace them in other scenarios.
Jumptap (now part of Millennial Media) and comScore released a report last week on cross-platform device usage. The report contains considerable data about smartphone and tablet penetration, day parting and device usage by content category and demographic group.
Much of the data is from comScore and has already been released in other contexts. However there were a number of interesting data points in the report worth revisiting, including the fact that combined smartphone and tablet time online now exceeds time online with PCs.
As a general matter smartphones and tablets have increased overall time spent online rather than simply cannibalizing PC time, though there has been some of that (e.g., maps, local).
Another interesting set of data in the document explore device share of online minutes by content category or vertical. The PC is dominant (more than 50% of time spent) in a little more than half the categories examined.
PC usage is highest in the automotive segment and lowest in "radio" (think Pandora). Retail sees slightly more mobile than PC time.
The numbers above are aggregate data. Demographic segments are going to display different device behaviors. For example, those in the US under 30 are likely to be more involved and spend more time with smartphones than those over 50. That pattern has been repeatedly shown in our surveys and other third party data, including this report.
Below are the demographic groups profiled in the report:
Age 18 - 24:
Women 25 - 49:
Men 25 - 49:
There's quite a bit more data in the report, which can be downloaded for free.
As a broad takeaway marketers can now assume almost everyone above a certain income threshold is "cross platform." The minority are "smartphone only" or "PC only" (select younger and older users respectively).
Marketers can also reliably make the assumption that those under 45 are going to favor smartphones vs. PCs as primary devices in a wide range of categories. However people are also rational and prefer larger screens in many contexts (at least until mobile user experiences are improved).
By comparison tablet behaviors are still being established. However the tablet is typically used as a PC substitute (provided a larger screen) in the home.