The Younger the Millennial, the Less Likely a Mobile Payment User is Born

January 11, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

An unexpected bit of information emerged from a recent Deloitte study, revealing that in-store mobile payments frequency has been on the rise in a big way from one particular market segment, the 25 – 34 year old market.

These are the most frequent users of mobile payments, and that’s good news for the entire market since these are the folks in their prime earning and spending years. Yet there’s a certain weakness to the market that’s also coming through, as in a strange twist, younger millennials are actually less likely than their older counterparts to turn to mobile payments.

The older millennials—those aged 25-34—are twice as likely to use a mobile payment system at least once a week than their 18-24 year old counterparts.

Those same older milennials are also three times more likely to use the technology than those aged 35 to 44. As many might have expected, the likelihood only drops the older the respondents get.That 25-34 year old age bracket loves mobile for a variety of reasons, and is willing to go so far as to check smartphones in the middle of the night.

We knew going in that the older generations are less interested in mobile in general, and mobile payments in particular. It was also revealed not so long ago that the Gen Z crowd—the market just after the millennials—is actually more interested in using cash than making mobile payments.

So while we have plenty of mobile users in the Gen Z crowd and in the younger millennial crowd, is it possible that mobile payments have a shelf life?

The answer here, I’d say, is not really. While it’s clear that interest does fall off in both mobile payments and mobile in general, there’s still a market. Granted, the market’s total size is reduced, but the increased use of the older millennials, as they become the spending leaders in their 30s and 40s, will likely make up for that somewhat.

Mobile payments may need to do more outreach to the younger set, but for the next several years, mobile payments should have a clean run and even some boom times ahead with the older millennials leading the way.