For obvious reasons, keys top the list of things people won’t leave home without, but the smartphone quickly has gained almost equal importance, beating out cash and credit cards globally, the results of worldwide survey suggest.
As such, businesses continue to seek out ways to tie mobile devices to their payment-acceptance strategies, and in some countries mobile payment are gaining ground, according to PayPal, the eBay-owned payments unit that sponsored the survey.
Between April 29 to May 20, independent research firm Reputation Leaders conducted the survey of 15,105 adult banked consumers ages 18 to 64 in 15 major markets. It conducted phone interviews in the U.S., while it did online surveys of participants in in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.
The findings illustrate just how wide the variances in mobile payment use globally. In China, 90 percent of respondents pay from their phone, followed by Russia, 85 percent; Brazil; nearly 70 percent; and Turkey, 60 percent.
Despite the relatively high use of mobile payments in those regions, the process remains a work in process. In China, for example, where mobile payments have become mainstream, 35 percent of respondents wished paying by phone were easier.
In the U.S., 54 percent of respondents said small businesses such as farmers markets and local shops could benefit from mobile or online payments, and 49 percent believed American entrepreneurs overall would benefit from an easier flow of money.
In a separate survey whose results Ebates.com published in March, nearly half, 45 percent, of U.S. consumers who responded said they used a mobile device to shop. Tops among the items both men and women said they bought with their mobile device was clothes. Yet another survey released that same month, by Bain & Company, found consumers in the U.S. and UK spend nearly twice as much when using digital channels, further illustrating why businesses are exploring ways to encourage more use of mobile payments.
Globally, the PayPal survey found, 70 percent of respondents felt technology should make payments simpler and faster, while providing users with choices and opportunities.
"Whether it’s the pain of the waiting on shopkeepers to take payment, annoyance at having to find and carry cash, frustration with lugging around a wallet, balking at reliance on kiosks or other things standing between people and what they want, the world is ready for (a) faster, safer way to pay and get paid,” PayPal said in a statement describing the survey results.
For example, most respondents in Singapore (73 percent), China (72 percent) and Australia (51 percent) wanted technology to help them avoid long lines. And in Europe, shoppers were more fed up with having to wait for someone to take payment or having to get cash to complete a purchase, with Spain (55 percent), Italy and Russia (53 percent each), France and Turkey (41 percent each), and the UK (39 percent) reporting the highest levels of such dissatisfaction, PayPal said.
The problems also persisted online, as respondents noted that, if a site required a customer to sign up or register before making a purchase, they were apt to lose more than half of prospective sales in Italy (52 percent), Canada (51 percent) and Spain (50 percent), the survey found.
Whether waiting in line or queuing up to pay for things, commuting to and from work or sitting in traffic, enduring pointless meetings or calls, or simply running errands, more than half of the respondents globally (56 percent) said they wasted hours each day that they’d like help recapturing.
"Whether spending that time with family and friends, relaxing, exercising or getting some quiet solo time, the value is immeasurable,” Christina Smedley, PayPal vice president of global brand and communications, said in a statement. As such, companies such as PayPal that are developing digital-based payment solutions can help solve the gridlock when it’s time to pay, she indicated.
But as the responses in China indicated, even where mobile is strong payments players must continue to innovate to meet market demand, and business equally will have to embrace the solutions that best fit their customers’ demands for faster transaction times and convenience.