Four Out of Five Mobile Payments Users Live in Asia: eMarketer

November 2, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

Mobile payments have made an impact all over the world, but according to a new report sent our way from eMarketer, it turns out that it’s made a rather disproportionate impact in geography. The report notes that, while mobile payments users can be found everywhere, you’ll find most of them in Asia, as eight out of 10 proximity mobile payments users are in Asia.

The eMarketer report even amplifies things from there by noting that better than six out of 10 of the world’s proximity mobile payments users live in China. The forecasts  eMarketer brought forward suggest that, by the end of this year, China will account for fully 63.5 percent of all proximity mobile payments users. This is especially noteworthy as earlier forecasts figured the Chinese would only account for 61.2 percent of the total.

What’s more, the figures assert that 525.1 million people will use proximity mobile payments at the physical point of sale, which not only represents a 13 percent increase over 2017 figures, but also represents 79.4 percent of all of China’s smartphone users.

The Chinese figures are wildly ahead of virtually everywhere else, even its nearest competitor India. India boasts just 73.9 million mobile payments users; a big number in isolation, but a small fraction of China’s users and an even smaller fraction of its own population. However, India is the fastest-growing market segment for mobile payments systems, up 39.7 percent this year alone.

It might seem out of line that China represents 60 percent of mobile payments users in the world. After all, China represents only about 18.5 percent of the planet, so mobile payments use has clearly caught on there more than anywhere else. Explanations for this disparity run the gamut from mobile payments connected to social media—which China has done extensively—to a vastly reduced dependence on cash. It makes some sense that the Chinese government would actively discourage cash; trying to print money sufficient for 1.4 billion, roughly, to use might well devalue the currency.  

Throw in the value of convenience and safety and it’s small wonder the Chinese are so interested in mobile payments. Will the rest of the world catch up? Only time will tell, but they’ve got one monster of a head start.