New Consumer Insights On Mobile Payments Adoption

Figuring out how, why, when and where consumers will adopt, en masse, new ways to pay is the mobile payments riddle, wrapped in an enigma, shrouded in mystery. And it’s a puzzle that many an innovator has been trying to solve for a very long time.

Well, today, those innovators may have some brand new clues that could make that riddle easier to solve.

MasterCard has released brand new research that provides new insight into the two big questions that are top of mind for every innovator in this space:

  • How does innovation in payment tech motivate consumers to choose a specific payments method?
  • What matters most when it comes to making that selection?

The answers, based on analyzing 1.6 million unprompted online conversations via social media posts (Twitter, Facebook, Weibo, Instagram, YouTube, etc.) related to shopping and retail — across 61 markets — were deceptively simple.

It’s not really about payment; it’s about something MasterCard is calling shopping at the “speed of life.”

Regardless of where consumers live, they demand more out of their retail experience — which includes the payment process – less friction simpler and more innovative ways to pay.

“Key findings from the study indicated retailers are experiencing a shift in consumer expectations, requiring new and richer experiences, which will enable consumers around the world to shop at the ‘speed of life,'” the MasterCard study concluded.

Key findings identified from the MasterCard “Retail Social Listening Study” include:

  • Technology needs to make payment easier and convenient, not harder and more complicated: Convenience was the most positively discussed aspect of new digital payment methods in shopping and retail-related conversations (77 percent listed). And nowhere was that more evident than when traveling. Consumers highlighted their preference for not necessarily needing to take their wallet on every trip and being able to use mobile payments when traveling.
  • Reward me, please: Rewards and benefits for the consumer was the most vociferously and positively discussed topic across social media when it came to shopping and retail (38 percent share of coverage of the six aspects measured). And rewards were sought more when the consumer was in search of an entertainment experience. Consumers expressed eagerness for further acceptance of NFC payments allowing them to receive rewards for using them regularly, citing MasterCard’s Fare Free Fridays in London as an example.
  • Acceptance is make-or-break: After rewards and benefits, consumer discussion of which retailers do and do not accept newer forms of payment was the second most discussed topic, according to the study (21 percent share of coverage of the six aspects measured). Consumers discussed extensively their desire for retailers to integrate new payment systems. And fashionistas lead that charge. Fashion-focused shoppers were the most keen to give a “shout-out” to retailers who accepted new methods of payment, including contactless and mobile payment capabilities. Surprisingly, Twitter was cited as the most used social media platform that “hosted” digital conversations about retail and shopping.

[bctt tweet=”How does innovation in payment tech motivate consumers to choose a specific payments method?”]

“The wave of social engagement we see every time new payment innovations are rolled out truly reflects the demand and desire for new and more convenient ways to pay. It also shows that payments have really moved into the heart of the shopping experience — causing frustration when not accepted and engagement when fast, easy and personal,” said Carlos Menendez, executive director for international markets at MasterCard.

The study also highlighted results by region to illustrate the differences and similarities across markets.

Leading Conversation Topic By Region

 What consumers had to say about how they prefer to pay

North America

  • 96 percent had favorable conversations about digital wallets and in-app payments
  • Recorded the highest volume of conversations globally on digital wallets and in-app payments and contactless payments
  • The most favorably discussed retail sector for North America is fashion (96 percent)

Latin America

  • Recorded the highest percentage of contactless payment conversations (88 percent) in comparison to digital wallets and in-app payments (12 percent)
  • Recorded the highest favorable tone of any continent on the entertainment retail sector (97 percent)


  • Digital wallets and in-app payments (93 percent) were discussed more favorably than contactless payments (91 percent) in Europe
  • Entertainment and fashion (95 percent) were the two retail sectors discussed most favorably in Europe

Middle East and Africa

  • Digital wallets and in-app payments (93 percent) were discussed more favorably in MEA than contactless payments (89 percent)
  • Rewards and benefits was the most discussed topic within MEA
  • Travel (97 percent) had the highest favorable tone of the retail sectors within the MEA region

Asia and the Pacific Rim

  • Asia Pacific had the highest percentage of favorable tone on the topic of contactless payments
  • Fashion and food had the highest favorable tone of all the retail sectors within Asia Pacific (99 percent)

The study also tracked conversations by region to, again, highlight the differences and similarities.

Conversations Around Key Trends

Responses By Region 

Safety & Security


Spain (50 percent)

Nigeria (43 percent)

India (40 percent)

Australia (34 percent)

Mexico (24 percent)



Australia (53 percent)

USA (39 percent)

Germany/France (33 percent)

U.K. (27 percent)

Rewards & Benefits


U.S. (45 percent)

Australia/Japan (44 percent)

Germany (26 percent)

U.K. (22 percent)

Acceptance & Declines


Japan (85 percent)

Canada (84 percent)

Netherlands (83 percent)

India (71 percent)

U.S. (64 percent)

What this study shows, as demonstrated by the figures above, is that consumers have a strong desire for retailers to adopt new payment technologies, but they still have strong concerns (as expected). But what’s most noteworthy is how consumer payment preferences vary by region. Moreover, the conversation trends vary by region just as much.

But regardless of how consumers prefer to pay, one thing is clear: Consumers want their digital payment experience to be safe, secure, to offer new and innovative benefits and to be convenient. Most of all, they want ubiquitous mobile payment acceptance.

And like MasterCard, that’s what most payment players are after, too.



B2B APIs aren’t just for large enterprises anymore — middle-market firms and SMBs now realize their potential for enabling low-cost access to real-time payments and account data. But those capabilities are only the tip of the API iceberg, says HSBC global head of liquidity and cash management Diane Reyes. In this month’s B2B API Tracker, Reyes explains how the next wave of banking APIs could fight payments fraud and proactively alert middle-market treasurers to investment opportunities.

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