Growth in Mobile Payments Driven by Asia-Pacific Markets

North America lags worldwide uptake

December 4, 2017

The use of mobile payments has risen substantially around the world over the past two years, but the bulk of the gain has come from Asia-Pacific markets, according to GlobalWebIndex survey data.

In fact, the 46% penetration level for mobile payments in China and India was found to be twice that of North America (23%).

The global survey of internet users, conducted in Q2 2017, found that 33% of respondents said they had paid for an item or a service using their mobile phone in the past month. That was up from 22% in Q4 2015.

The potential of mobile payments is being realized in emerging markets, GlobalWebIndex said, as "rapidly expanding smartphone penetration rates help mobile payments leapfrog relatively undeveloped financial infrastructures." It noted that many of these markets have been sheltered from outside competition, but that is beginning to change.

According to GlobalWebIndex, Apple Pay appears to have the strongest growth prospects, in part because its brand image may be of particular value in gaining users in emerging markets.  

The survey found that 6% of US respondents said they had used Apple Pay in the past month, compared with 9% in the UK and China.

The GlobalWebIndex data for mobile payment activity appears to be roughly in line with eMarketer estimates, which put the number of proximity mobile payment users in the US at 48.1 million in 2017, or 23.0% of smartphone users.