Deloitte recently issued their annual mobile technology predictions report and one of the most interesting parts of the read was the way they walked a line between predicting that mobile payments overall will surge in the next twelve months while “contactless mobile payments” (the NFC-based systems driving Apple Pay and others) will remain a niche segment.
Of course, it’s important to define “niche” here. Less than one-half of one percent of NFC-phone owners used their phone’s NFC technology to buy something in 2014. So while that number may increase ten-fold this year, which sounds pretty impressive, it still means that, of the 600-million-plus NFC-enables smartphones out there, less than 30 million will get used.
These figures invite further looks. Yes, Apple pay has raised awareness and engagement, and all the banks are on board. But a 10X increase over twelve months in a behavior that has been essentially stagnant at approximately zero for years seems optimistic, especially in light of the challenges Apple is seeing bringing retailers on board (see our recent post As Banks Sign Up For Apple Pay, Is It Enough? for more on this).
What do you think? Are we finally at the mobile payment tipping point? Or do we still only have two-thirds of a solution?