As the holidays and 2012 become more distant in the rearview mirror, analysts are still busy extracting data, trends and lessons learned. One big one: The fact that mobile devices have become a key force driving e-commerce. Mobile devices are revolutionizing how we’re paying for things—both online and in brick-and-mortar stores.
Recent data from IBM shows that mobile devices accounted for 16.3% of all U.S. online sales on Black Friday—up from just under 10% (9.6%) on Black Friday in 2011. Additionally, on Cyber Monday mobile devices accounted for nearly 13% of all purchase online, almost double that on Cyber Monday the previous year.
Smart phones and tablets are our go-to mobile devices for shopping, ushering in the next big thing: digital wallet. Remember when we were more than a little skittish about entering credit card numbers online? Some of those same kinds of questions are being raised with respect to using a smartphone a digital wallet. Those things are all being worked out, and experts are confident they will be.
In the meantime, digital wallet is rapidly forging ahead. Small business owners and consumers alike need to understand what’s coming. A good place to start? WSJ’s MarketWatch, where five things to know about mobile payments and digital wallet were recently discussed.
Digital wallet appears to hold unlimited promise for us all. By this time next year, who knows? Among other things, the MarketWatch article dangles the promise of not having to carry around the ‘gift card graveyard’ we all have in our wallets!
A few additional points about digital wallet:
- Lots of big players can mean confusion and shakeout but ultimately should be a good thing. Google, major credit card companies, big banks and even big chains like Target and Walmart are all players on this dynamic landscape. And more are jumping into the fray all the time.
- $600 billion by 2016. A lot of dots have to be connected in terms of availability, acceptance and demand. But we’ve seen so many other developments in technology explode once they catch fire, and this one definitely has that kind of potential.
- Smartphones surging. Infodocket.com reported last fall that smartphone penetration has grown past the 50% threshold for the first time. During the three-month period ending in September 2012, 119.3 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones (51 % mobile market penetration). Up 8% just since June, smartphones are a key ingredient in mobile payments.
- There will always be a payment mix. Credit cards aren’t going away anytime soon. Mobile payments may be another payment option you offer customers. At the same time, who could have foreseen the explosion in credit card use—and the fact that they would become the dominant form of payment?
Ultimately, consumers will decide the fate of mobile payments. Demand comes when consumers can see clear benefits: Ease, convenience, time savings, money savings, better security, special deals, etc. Right now, it looks like mobile payments will be able to deliver on several of those promises.