Mobile Payments Has a Ways to Go, Say Retailers

October 18, 2016         By: Steven Anderson

It likely won’t come as a surprise, but even as the still comparatively young mobile payments technology gains ground, retailers are eager for even faster growth. A new study from Astound Commerce shows the difference between reality and retailers’ hopes, and the two are somewhat separated, though maybe not for much longer.

Right now, smartphone users are a little under two out of three people in the United States, and by 2020, that number is projected to hit almost three out of four. That means mobile commerce sales are up, as there are more mobile users overall, so any growth is exacerbated by the increased user pool. Plus, mobile commerce is expected to account for one dollar in three of all eCommerce sales by the end of this year, and that’s up from 26 percent for 2015.

Sounds like impressive growth, but a study from Boston Retail Partners shows that business isn’t exactly seeing the results they’d like. A part of that seems to be of their own doing, as 58 percent of respondents noted starting a mobile-specific site, but almost half of them believed that the site needed improvement. Another 25 percent said that they’d be putting a mobile site online within the next two years.

An eMarketer report on the study noted “Roughly a quarter of the executives polled said that executing geolocation and in-store customer ID technologies would likely happen in the next three to five years. Conversely, at the time of the survey, only two percent said they had geolocation in place that’s working well. Meanwhile, no one felt they were at that stage of success with customer identifying tools.”

In the end, this tells us what we’d known all along; mobile payments is still a young technology and will take some time to get fully up to snuff. That’s not particularly outlandish; businesses were likely in a wait-and-see posture for at least a little while to see if this whole smartphone thing would remain a thing, or if it would end up fizzling out.

Now, businesses are eager to get in on the action before the market solidifies around a handful of competitors, and that means a mad rush to get in before it’s too late. Look for rapidly-increased paces of development before we’re all done.