ARCHIVES: This is legacy content from before Industry Dive acquired Mobile Commerce Daily in early 2017. Some information, such as publication dates, may not have migrated over. Check out our topic page for the latest mobile commerce news.

Mobile ticketing transaction volume to double by 2019: report

Mobile tickets are set to account for more than one in two ticket transactions on digital platforms by 2019, following a two-fold growth over the next few years as the transportation sector ramps up mobile offerings, according to a new report from Juniper Research.

The study shows that global ticket purchases made from desktop and mobile devices, including tablets and smartphones, will reach $32 billion by 2019, nearly twice the amount from this year’s estimate of $16.2 billion. Mobile will also account for more than 50 percent of digital tickets purchased in the next few years, proving that the transportation sector will be going more mobile, especially as wearables permeate the market.

“Digital ticketing continues to evolve from serving as a simple replacement to a physical paper ticket, into an experience that provides rich and interactive information on travel plans, delays, pricings etc.,” said Nitin Bhas, head of research at Juniper Research, Basingstoke, Hampshire, Britain. “Mobile ticketing is quickly becoming a popular new method for transit fare collection.

“However, the challenge for mobile ticketing is educating the customer to make that migration from traditional means.”

Transport sector domination
Juniper found that metropolitan and bus ticketing was driven by mobile phone usage in nearly every market, suggesting that all travel marketers in major cities or hubs must roll out mobile-first offerings to travelers and commuters. Metro and bus ticketing’s low price, high frequency and high volume of purchases lend themselves well to mobile tickets.

Mobile tickets also call for less crowds and lines, and provide consumers with the utmost convenience of not misplacing or losing their transit cards. This particular form of ticketing is gaining traction via barcodes delivered from mobile applications, as well as SMS-based solutions, which are currently experiencing widespread adoption in foreign markets such as Italy and Sweden.

Airlines are turning to mobile for digital boarding passes

Foreign cities have been tapping mobile-first options of providing relevant content to consumers, with the Belgian city of Antwerp leading the pack of “smart” cities as it leverages public QR codes posted in shops and stations to disperse travel information to smartphone users (see story).

“There are a number of countries and regions that have progressed further than others,” Mr. Bhas said. “The Scandinavian countries – principally Finland, Sweden and Denmark – and Austria are early adopters of mobile ticketing, especially in the transit industry.

“In the US, deployment and user adoption in metro cities are on the rise.”

Apple Pay will also likely take credit for forming greater awareness of contactless payment solutions, which will fuel more usage of mobile ticketing, in addition to higher adoption rates.

Smartwatch potential
Juniper’s research suggests that ticketing apps will become paramount for wearables, such as smartwatches. As the Apple Watch begins to finally reach consumers’ wrists, more brands are rolling out smartwatch-specific apps and features, paving the way for entertainment and travel marketers to do the same.

The airline industry would be well-poised to explore these options, as NFC solutions and mobile services will be able to help streamline lines at airports, and save time in key areas such as check-in, security checkpoint and boarding.

The International Air Transport Association believes that 80 percent of global travelers will be able to use a relevant Self-Service suite of options throughout their journeys by 2020, a great deal of which will be available thanks to mobile.

“Smartwatches with NFC capability will enable mobile payment services and offer a convenient replacement for contactless debit cards and smartphones,” Mr. Bhas said. “However there are a number of challenges still to be addressed with implementing wearables for ticketing.

“Firstly, the adoption of wearables itself is not widespread. Other technical challenges include scanning capabilities and battery life.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York