There’s a New Leader in Store-Based Mobile Payments Apps

We’ve long considered Starbucks the poster child for in-store mobile payments, because not only has it vaulted to prominence based on what it’s done in the field so far, but also how it’s addressed setbacks caused by that success. And indeed, it’s been top of the heap for a while, but a new report suggests that that’s no longer the case. So who did Starbucks lose its top ranking to? The answer isn’t much of a surprise when you think about it: Walmart.

The word from Cornerstone Advisors and StrategyCorps spells the point out in crystal clarity: a little over 44 million Americans are currently packing the Starbucks app on their mobile devices, while over 58 million Americans are likewise carrying Walmart’s app. In fact, Starbucks is also being beaten by Amazon, with around 54 million users, and Uber, with 52 million and change.

However, Starbucks’ lock on the number four slot is pretty well-assured, as it boasts a nearly two-to-one lead over its closest competitor CVS, with 28 million users.

One of the biggest reasons for the gap is generational issues; while Young Millennials—those between 21 and 29—have the Starbucks app in 30 percent of cases and Walmart in 30 percent, the number of Starbucks holders falls the older you get. Older Millennials have the Starbucks app in like number, but step up Walmart to 36 percent. Gen Xers are 24 percent Starbucks, 36 percent Walmart, and Baby Boomers boast just 14 percent Starbucks and roughly 25 percent Walmart.

There’s another point to easily explain the discrepancy: location. A 2017 report noted that 91 percent of Americans live within 10 miles of a Walmart. A 2017 study found that each Starbucks has almost four others within a mile, but there were still plenty of places with no such outlet on hand. With more Americans living near a Walmart than a Starbucks, should we really be surprised that more people have and use the Walmart mobile app?

Starbucks is still a power in the mobile field, but Walmart’s sheer range and shopping options make it a power to contend with as well. The numbers bear it out surprisingly well, and give us all new reason to watch this old shopping favorite for many more closely.

Leave a Comment