Mobile commerce: are we really there yet?

Posted on March 3, 2014 by


Apart from the latest wearables that are now pushing their way into mainstream (check any coverage of the MWC and you’ll know), what really piques our attention in the mobile space is its disruptive, global transformation of certain long-existing modes and routines (e.g. how we communicate, navigate, transact, etc).

While most of the data immediately projected to us tend to reflect usage and behavioural trends in North America, we are nonetheless reminded of other continents (Africa and Asia, in particular) populated with massive users of mobile who are most likely more open and quick to adopting mobile modes of behaviour.


A recent IDC report cites that “smartphones will continue to ship in high volumes, surpassing 1.4 billion units in 2015 and accounting for 69% of all smart connected device shipments worldwide.” And an even more recent mobile media consumption report notes that 60% of internet access (globally) is mostly mobile.

Pretty telling stats, right?

Meanwhile, back in North America.. I happened upon an article painting a somewhat different picture. It argues that mobile owners here are reluctant to use their phone for retail payments.

Highlighting some data from the Yankee Group, it claims that:

  • only 16% of mobile device owners have used their phone to make an in-store payment in the last three months, and that
  • of those with mobile wallets, 73% are using them less than 5 times per month

Granted, the article touched specifically on the option of making payments through the relatively nascent mobile wallet.

But when seeing the incremental progress of mobile wallets against the bigger backdrop of impressive data practically depicting a global mobile revolution you’d have to wonder: just how ready and willing are we to adjust our habits and accept mobile methods of conducting commerce?

Lets once again put on our mobile thinking hats and fill this hour with the usual productive mind share on these musings:

  • Q1 Are mobile wallets indicative of how well mobile commerce will become easily adopted & widely used?
  • Q2 Should all commercial transactions be done via mobile? Which industries would benefit most/the least?
  • Q3 What factors would need to come together for mobile commerce to truly mark a tipping point?
  • Q4 What other mobile payment systems would help bring mobile commerce to the mainstream?

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Posted in: Marketing, Mobility