Apple Pay transactions jumped 450% during the quarter compared to the year-ago period, Apple CEO Tim Cook said Tuesday on a conference call with analysts announcing the company's second quarter earnings.
Apple didn’t reveal the total number of Apple Pay users, nor did it break out the amount of revenue it earns from Apple Pay, continuing with its tradition in both cases. Apple is accepted in 15 countries at 4.5 million payment locations in the U.S., and 20 million locations total worldwide, Cook said.
Apple, which now has 495 retail locations worldwide, is continuing to expand its physical presence with a new store design unveiled late last month in Dubai. The new concept, spearheaded by retail chief Angela Ahrendts, repositions the company’s retail stores as gathering places and hubs for creativity.
Apple Pay is also seeing broad international success. The number of locations accepting Apple Pay in the U.K. is up 44% over the last year, with monthly transactions there having increased about 300%. Also, in Japan, transit system users are completing 20 million Apple Pay transactions per month.
Apple is trying to get the world even more excited about Apple Pay by providing a bit deeper glimpse than usual at how it’s performing. While these numbers sound impressive, it’s difficult to put them in perspective without knowing details such as how many Apple Pay users there actually are, and how many transactions there were last quarter. (One recent study, for example, claimed that only 13% of active iPhones have Apple Pay activated.)
The very large percentages provided likely reflect one key notion: Apple Pay was not available in many places a year ago, and far fewer people were using it during the first half of 2016. Later in 2016, availability of mobile payment options appeared to jump with the expansion of Apple Pay into more countries (all of that usage in Japan, for example, only dates back to October). Similar expansion moves were also made by Android Pay and Samsung Pay, and several retailers also entered the market, which remains at a very early stage.
Apple’s promotion of Apple Pay transaction numbers may have more to do with Apple’s efforts to create excitement around its services business. That unit earned $7 billion in revenue last quarter, but Apple is trying to double the amount of money it earns from services by 2020, likely to make itself less of a slave to device sales.
During his remarks this week, Cook also touted Apple’s retail store expansion, which is the latest sign that Apple remains committed to its brick-and-mortar strategy, and its recent effort to revamp its retail approach. And every new Apple store is, of course, one more location that accepts Apple Pay.