How Did 2018’s Mobile Payments Predictions Stack Up to Reality?

December 19, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

We’ve been seeing a slew of mobile payments predictions in recent days, and there will likely be more to follow. While it’s fairly easy to make predictions, we don’t often hear much about the converse, that is, how close the predictions were to sweet reality. That’s a trend PYMNTS bucked for its year in review, as its own Karen Webster took a look back on her own predictions and found them mostly sound.                                                                                                     

One of her biggest was that “power brokers would boost their power.” Considering how many mergers and acquisitions we saw this year, not to mention how PayPal advanced in the wake of its eBay loss and subsequent recovery, this is safely elevated to fact. Then Webster noted we should “…think commerce first, not connected devices” as well as “think power brokers like Amazon, not Apple.” Apple certainly had a less-than-sterling year, though it did make advances, but Amazon certainly had a wild ride with its Alexa augmentations.         

Webster followed these up with “think intent, not content” and “think Google, not Facebook.” Given Facebook’s year here, that turned out righter than most anyone expected. Webster also noted we should “think ubiquity, not niche”, which meant to focus on card networks, a path the market certainly took, and pointed out that we should “think global”, a point certainly not lost on the rise of Alipay, which we’ve been following here for the last couple of years now.

If Webster’s predictions here seem a little generalized, that was actually her intent. She deliberately put forward “a few broad themes” which she believed would “underpin the events of the year to come.” So it’s not like she was picking horses, she was just making some projections about the overall state of the industry. Since the overall state of the industry this year might well be described as “a lot like last year but more so”, it’s easy to see how Webster’s picks managed to land.gy

With 2018 almost one for the history books, and 2019 just days away, we’re all looking forward to what the next advances in mobile payments will look like. Only time will tell how it all comes out, but there will likely be plenty of surprises in the year that co