Mercator Perspectives

Mobile Payments: Maturing Markets Demand More Utility

From Mercator Advisory Group's recent CustomerMonitor Series report on mobile payments, Consumers and Mobile Payments – Make it Useful, it is clear to me from our research that mobile markets are maturing.

It is astonishing how fast mobile technology is moving forward and penetration with consumers is rising at lightning speeds. As of June 2012, smartphone penetration grew 66% from the previous 12 months, according to Mercator research. Our data suggests nearly half of United States adults now have smartphones.

Smartphone use is soaring in all age categories, especially young adults with 65% in the survey sample. Even 2 in 5 middle-aged consumers (35 to 64 year olds) and 1 in 5 seniors surveyed report owning a smartphone. Incidentally, 25% of the survey sample says they own a tablet compared with 5% tablet ownership in 2011. Holiday shopping went tech last year.

Now that smartphones and other mobile devices are more common, consumers are doing more on those devices. They are thinking more critically about mobile payments and how and when they get purchase or payment information, including receipts, coupons and even financial related alerts. While consumers are very excited about the concept of mobile payments, they definitely are demanding more organization when it comes to payments, coupons, receipts and a feedback loop that often includes financial alerts.

But, timing is everything – and, it has to be useful. Just getting coupons or discounts from preferred merchants by e-mail is no longer that interesting to consumers. Half of consumers are interested in having their coupons stored in a coupon “wallet” that automatically presents the coupon for redemption when making an in-store purchase. But, far fewer consumers this year would like to receive coupons on their phone from the merchants they select for redemption. Those consumers would prefer to receive electronic coupons automatically when they are near or in a store based on their physical location and personal preferences.

No one wants duplicates or any extra data cluttering their devices. Consumers want data that’s useful at the time they need it. In lieu of any organized “coupon wallet”, send me the coupons for my favorite stores when I’m in the shopping mall ready to buy it.

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