Despite slower-than-anticipated growth, U.S. mobile payments will top $1 billion this year, according to a new study by eMarketer. That’s more than double last year’s $539 million, and dollars spent will continue to rise to reach an estimated $58 billion by 2017.
Still, the market for payments made via mobile phone is growing more slowly than originally expected. eMarketer had anticipated that mobile transactions would top $20 billion by 2015. However, they now say that threshold won’t be reached until 2016.
Reasons for the Slowdown
What’s causing the delay? According to eMarketer, several factors come into play: development of the technology took longer than expected; consumers need more time to fully embrace the technology; and too many competing technologies are threatening to overcrowd the marketplace. Combined, these factors have contributed to stifled growth. Additionally, most users still only use mobile payments to make low-value purchases.
For more consumers to catch on to the U.S. mobile payments trend, they will need to fully recognize the value and convenience of buying items using their phones. Consumers also need reassurance that payments are secure and won’t be impeded by cellphone battery life. They also want more mainstream merchants to accept mobile payments. These changes will take time to implement.
eMarketer describes mobile payments as purchases made by scanning, swiping or checking in with a mobile phone. These purchases are made in the real world and differ from mobile commerce, or the purchase of digital goods and services on a mobile device.
As consumers become more familiar with the various systems, payments made via mobile devices could ratchet up to the hundreds of billions of dollars in the next five years, eMarketer concluded.
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