Got Leather? Almost a Third of Consumers Prefer Carrying Physical Wallet

Digital wallets — Apple PayGoogle WalletPayPal and more — give consumers a secure, convenient and contactless way to pay for purchases online and in person. Because they store credit- and debit-card information, they liberate shoppers from having to carry around physical cards when dining or shopping. Similarly, they free up online shoppers from having to input sensitive card data into websites and apps when making purchases. 

As might be expected, the popularity of digital wallets varies depending on demographic differences. 

According to “Tracking the Digital Payments Takeover: Can New Use Cases Drive Consumer Use of Digital Wallets?” PYMNTS Intelligence found digital wallets are wildly popular with Generation Z consumers, with 79% of them regularly using digital wallets. Only about 26% of baby boomers and seniors share that enthusiasm. In between, digital wallet usage varies: 44% of Generation X shoppers are fans; so are 63% of bridge millennials and 67% of millennials.  

These are just a small sampling of findings included in the report, which was completed in collaboration with AWS and reflects survey responses from more than 2,500 consumers. 

The popularity of digital wallets follows a predictable path when different age groups are asked about payment innovations: the younger the respondent, the greater the likelihood that they will be embrace the tool. What may be more surprising are the reasons consumers decline using the technology.

For starters, around 30% of respondents say their preference is to carry physical cards and documents — driver’s licenses, passports, event tickets and so on. This leads to other reasons mentioned in the survey, even though not needing to carry around these credentials is a major selling point of digital wallets in the first place.

Security concerns are the next-most cited reason, accounting for 23% of digital wallet naysayers. Next come the 12% who are simply uncomfortable relying on a single platform to manage all their information. 

digital wallets

When the reasons for not using digital wallets are parsed by generations, the data does deliver some surprises.

For instance, despite being far more likely overall to use digital wallets, one in four Gen Z consumers said they don’t trust a single platform to manage all their information, which was more than twice the level of concern held by other generations.

Fewer than 10% of millennials are concerned about one device managing all their information, yet more than 20% of them say data privacy concerns prevent them from embracing digital wallets. At 24%, Gen X is most concerned about data privacy, one percentage point higher than the 23% of baby boomers and seniors who share that concern. 

Meanwhile, fees associated with digital wallets barely register as a concern for most segments, except for nearly 5% of Gen Z respondents, who — being the youngest group — are more likely than the others to be motivated by financial concerns.