Yesterday I blogged about a Wired writer who’s decided to use nothing but her smartphone for purchases over the next month. I think she’s hoping to illustrate that mobile-only payments aren’t quite there yet, but that it’s somewhat feasible with current technology. Or maybe she’s just looking for pageviews (it worked).
Either way, I think it’s important to point out that mobile has a major role to play in the world of commerce even if people aren’t making payments through their phones. Apparently, that is also the view of many prominent retailers. Here’s TechCrunch breaking down the results of a recent retailer survey:
A study from Deloitte, notes that today in the UK only 1% of mobile consumers have ever used a handset to pay for something in a retail location. However, it also provides some convincing evidence that we are at least well on our way to linking mobiles — specifically smartphones — to retail purchases anyway.
In the U.S. Deloitte says that using apps and mobile web sites while shopping accounted for a 5% bump in retail sales, equating to $159 billion in in-store sales. In the UK the proportion was slightly higher, but that the actual value was lower: mobile usage gave a 6% bump, or £15.2 billion ($24.7 billion) in sales. Deloitte notes that this puts the value of mobile influence at twice that of how much money is being processed through mobile payments at the moment in the UK.
That influence is set to grow. Fuelled by the rise in apps and mobile websites catering to shoppers, as well as smartphone ubiquity, Deloitte forecasts that in the U.S. the impact of smartphones on retail in the U.S. will rise to 17%-21% — working out to $628 million – $782 million in sales by 2016.
The bottom line: Smartphone payments might never take off, but that doesn’t mean mobile won’t play a huge role in the future of retail.