Is the Mobile Payments Market About to Explode?

February 5, 2019         By: Steven Anderson

It’s easy, sometimes, to look at the mobile payments market sometimes and wonder if it’s ever really going to fire up. Sure, we’ve seen pockets of gain—China and India are leading the way here—but elsewhere, it’s little more than a curiosity or a sideshow. However, new reports have emerged to suggest that this market is about to go off in a big way, and sooner than you think.

In 2016, the reports noted, the mobile payment market was worth $601 billion. A year later, it had jumped to $720 billion, and by the end of this year, it should clear the $1 trillion mark. That means the market has nearly doubled in the space of about two years, and it’s not going to stop there. Some estimates figure that the market will hit $4.5 trillion by 2023, though more conservative estimates put it at around $2.7 trillion.

So what’s going to drive that kind of spectacular growth? Several different catalysts acting at once, the reports note. First, the ongoing rise of mobile device acceptance and mobile connectivity will be a huge growth driver here; while most people who want smartphones have them by now—some believe that Apple’s recent sales growth declines suggest Peak Smartphone is officially in play—there are steadily more uses for these devices coming into the field as well. Steady improvements in security have helped here as well, and when you throw in the growth of new technologies like blockchain, the picture only brightens.

Except, perhaps, for one thing: people willing to spend money. While there are reports that say the economy is doing quite well, there are many other reports that suggest this upswing may not last. Without that last component, the rest of these can only go so far. It doesn’t really matter, in the end, how much investment there’s been or how many places will take mobile payments if spending in general is on the decline.

Still, even if spending in general is down, there will almost certainly be spending. If more of it goes mobile—which it may given the circumstances—that’s going to be enough to fuel a rise. The numbers may be in doubt, but the upward momentum is hard to pass.