New research suggests mobile payments could exceed $171 billion in 2012, with an estimated 212.2 million people using their phones to pay for purchases. That total would represent more than 60 percent growth over aggregate mobile spending in 2011.
By 2016, the mobile payment market could reach $617 billion and 448 million users, Gartner estimates.
But even as mobile takes off, the research group is skeptical of the future of NFC as it relates to payments. “NFC payment involves a change in user behavior and requires collaboration among stakeholders that includes banks, mobile carriers, card networks and merchants,” says Gartner’s Sandy Shen. “It takes time for both to happen, so we don’t expect NFC payments to come into the mass market before 2015.”
In Shen’s view, it won’t be retail payments, but rather ticketing and transit that drives the growth of NFC use over the next few years.