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Mobile payment users spend twice as much: report

Mobile payment users, on average, spend approximately twice as much through all digital channels than those not using mobile payments, according to a new report from business consulting firm Bain & Co.

The survey of 25,000 consumers in five countries found that while more than half of consumers are aware of mobile payments, only a quarter are willing to use their mobile device for in-store payments. Still, building a relationship with mobile payments early adopters could be beneficial for merchants, with these users spending more than non-users by a rate of more than two-to-one in the United States and Britain and between 30 and 60 percent more in France, Germany and Spain.

“Despite these barriers, we believe there will be significant advantage for companies that act now to shape their approach, as mobile payments move toward the mainstream over the next three years,” said Stephen Bertrand, London-based partner with Bain & Company and lead author of the report. “Mobile payment users tend to be younger and in the U.S., UK and Germany, more affluent than the average consumer.

“They spend more than twice as much through digital channels and tend to shop more often,” he said. “Banks and retailers that move quickly will gain the interest and loyalty of the valuable consumers who are the primary early adopters of mobile payments.”

Changing payment behavior
While the widespread use of mobile devices bodes well for mobile payments, adoption has not yet taken off because many consumers remain anxious over data security and privacy breaches, according to the report.

Additionally, consumers are not yet convinced of the benefits of mobile payments, with 40 percent of those currently unwilling to adopt saying that they do not see the need for changing their payment behavior.

If merchants and financial services organizations can successfully address these concerns, the evidence suggests mobile payments are poised for rapid adoption over the next three years.

For example, consumers are adopting new forms of financial technology at increasingly faster rates. The annual growth rate of mobile banking was 59 percent in its first four years compared with a 35 percent annual growth rate for online banking in its first four years.

Additionally, while only three to seven percent of those surveyed have used mobile payments in stores, 16 to 27 percent said that they are willing to try.

Consumer value
The key to driving mobile payments adoption will be in successfully making the case for the value for consumers, including faster checkouts, discounts and/or promotions, access to real-time balances and location-based marketing offers.

Providing customized offers tailored to specific consumer needs is critical for banks, retailers and alternative payment providers seeking greater market share, according to the report.

Bain identified several consumer segments, with each placing different value on security, convenience, loyalty and offers, to help mobile payments providers define the right proposition for target segments.

The most concerned about payment security are Paranoids and Non-Shoppers.

One-Stop Shoppers and Impulse Shoppers value convenience most while Hobby Shoppers, Reward Hunters and Technophiles value loyalty, offers and experience.

“In the markets we surveyed, consumers expect banks to provide their digital wallet, and they trust banks more to do this than they trust other types of companies includ­ing retailers, start-ups or related technology providers,” Mr. Bertrand said. “Banks and card providers that move too slowly could miss opportunities to build customer loyalty, acquire affluent new customers and hold a coveted spot among the top two apps that customers we surveyed said they were likely to keep on their mobile devices.

“Some Euro­pean banks are moving more rapidly than U.S. banks, particularly in France and Spain,” he said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York