While most early mCommerce activity involved the purchase of digital goods such as digital audio files, games and ringtones, the rise in coming years will be spurred by the diversification of mobile payments. Although the “lion’s share” of transactions will originate within the mobile banking industry, retail and other technology uses will bring additional value to the overall number of mobile transactions.
Specifically, airlines and retail stores will contribute to this growing trend. Airlines have expanded electronic ticketing platforms and actively encourage increased engagement through mobile apps not only with ticket purchasing options but also with loyalty reward programs and other advantages.
The mCommerce advantage to retail is twofold. First, more physical products are being purchased through mobile devices, particularly as the tablet begins to replace the laptop for at-home computer use. Second, brick-and-mortar stores are taking advantage of mobile apps to provide high-quality and engaging user experiences via mobile coupons and Near Field Communication (NFC) payments, which are made using a mobile device.
The latter payment option has been predicted as a catalyst for the growing mobile payment field, even though no specific platform has yet gained widespread adoption. Positive indicators of a shift come from a recent Visa and Samsung NFC alliance and from success by Starbucks’ system that allows customers to pay with smartphones.
Another, less obvious contributor to mobile commerce involves the “unbanked” — individuals who do not have a bank account. The report reveals that many people in developing areas, including regions of Africa and the Indian subcontinent, have historically not had access to a bank account or credit card. However, a much larger percentage do have access to mobile phones and will use them for financial tranactions.
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