In 2018, more than a third of smartphone users worldwide will use their mobile phone to pay for a purchase at a physical point of sale (POS) at least once every six months, eMarketer estimates. By 2021, that figure will reach 39.8%, or roughly 1.12 billion people.
According to its latest research, eMarketer expects that 13.2% of the global population will be proximity mobile payment users this year. By 2021, that proportion is expected to grow to 17.2%.
Proximity mobile payments are defined as Point-of-sale (POS) transactions made by using a mobile device as a payment method. Includes scanning, tapping, swiping or checking in with a mobile device at the POS to complete the transaction; excludes purchases of digital goods on mobile devices, purchases made remotely on mobile devices that are delivered later on, and transactions made via tablets.
China is the world’s leader in proximity payments: with more than 61% of its shoppers projected to use mobile payment in 2018.
The main driver of growth in the number of proximity mobile payment users will be rising retailer acceptance, in tandem with the expansion of the “big three” international providers—Android Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay—and China’s Wechat Pay and AliPay, which have been expanding throughout Asia-Pacific.
“This year will be a turning point for in-store mobile payments, as it’s the first year the majority of new users will come from outside of China,” says Chris Bendtsen, senior forecasting analyst at eMarketer. “China is still the only country with mainstream adoption, but now consumers and retailers in other parts of the world are starting to welcome the idea of using a phone to make a purchase. The specific services and technology may differ depending on the country, but it’s the same growing reliance on smartphones in everyday life that’s driving usage worldwide.”