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Proximity payment is fastest-growing segment of mobile payments: report

The report, Mobile Commerce Markets: Key Sector Strategies, Opportunities & Forecasts 2014-2019, predicts that mobile commerce transactions will surge 71 percent annually by 2019, as Apple Pay and banks’ use of host card emulation technology drive growth in the near-field communications sector. The finding is the latest evidence that mobile payments are gaining traction in the mainstream despite the large number of consumers who still resist mobile payments.

“Many NFC stakeholders are focusing exclusively on the payment opportunities from contactless, whereas the real benefits – particularly from a retail and marketing perspective – lie in the engagement side: loyalty, couponing, customer information,” said Windsor Holden, head of forecasting and consultancy for Juniper, based in Britain.

“If you look at it as a means of payment in isolation, then deployment doesn’t necessarily make commercial sense. But layer loyalty and couponing on top of that and it suddenly becomes a far more exciting retail proposition.”

Rapid growth
The report fits with earlier findings by Forrester Research and others that growth in mobile proximity and in-store payments is expected to far outpace growth in mcommerce and mobile peer-to-peer transactions over the next several years.

While consumer and retail adoption of mobile payments has been relatively small to date, mobile payments overall are expected to move toward the mainstream.

New York Waterway’s updated ticketing app.

 The expected significant growth in mobile proximity payments over the next few years will result in a dramatic shift in share, with mcommerce dropping from a 90 percent share of overall mobile payments to 50 percent while proximity payments will jump from a 4 percent share to 45 percent, according to Forrester.

Juniper’s research found that the highest net increase in transaction volumes will occur in the digital goods sector, fuelled by a surge in micropayments for in-app purchases, notably within arenas such as social gaming.

The report highlighted the opportunity for digital content monetization presented by direct carrier billing, particularly within under-banked regions and demographics.

Storefronts that have deployed carrier billing systems have already seen positive results across a range of indicators, including higher conversion rates, higher average transaction values and higher transaction volumes, Juniper said.

The report also found significant transactional migration from desktop to mobile as consumers increasingly media-stack – meaning they make purchases on their devices while watching TV.

The report also highlights growth in mobile ticketing acceptance in United States public transportation services, an area that until now had been slow to adopt mobile ticketing.

Mobile ticketing and payment makes perfect sense in the world of public transportation, where consumers are always in a rush and trying to travel as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s mTicket accounted for 15 percent of ticket sales within nine months of launch, while New York Waterways has reached 25 percent in less than two years.

Boston’s Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority began offering mobile tickets last year with a branded app. The app lets consumers display a mobile ticket to the train conductor, as well as check schedules, maps and service alerts.

In June, Ferry operator New York Waterway updated its mobile ticketing application to make purchasing fares more seamless.

Pent-up demand
The rapid post-launch adoption rates of these ticketing services suggest a pent-up demand for such services, according to the report.

Mainstream taking to mobile ticketing.

“The surge in mobile ticketing adoption in places like Massachusetts suggests a pent-up demand for such services,” Mr. Holden said. “Indeed, when the MBTA surveyed consumers at the time of launch the general belief was that such services were widespread, whereas it was among the first to be launched in the US.

“Essentially, consumers can now do so much on their mobiles that they expected to be able to buy tickets,” Mr. Holden said. “Which in turn suggests that mobile has a very strong future indeed in this arena.”

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York.