The two-decade-long trot toward digitization has turned into an all-out wind sprint, propelled by a global pandemic. As the lockdown fog lifts and transmission fears slowly dissipate, reopening businesses will encounter change, especially with regard to consumer payments.
Among the many things we’ve learned through the progression of the event is that entire populations were deeply shaken about COVID-19 and will view things through that lens. This is already pointing to big changes in how people shop, with mobile remote payments emerging as an early favorite in the post-pandemic reorganization of companies small and large.
“I’d … hesitate to use the word ‘recovery’ because it implies that there’s a stop to the crisis and a start to the recovery,” Forestell said. “I just don’t think anything like that is going to happen. In fact, I’d say that in a way, the recovery started on day one of the crisis.”
Noting that, “Our job [at Visa] is to make [digital] adaptations as easy, seamless, secure and fast as possible,” Forestell said business will return after the crisis abates, but it will be different.
PYMNTS quantified that fact in mid-April with the 2020 Remote Payments Study, surveying nearly 3,500 consumers about how they intend to spend once the all-clear sounds. The findings align with Forestell’s view that payments behavior changed quickly, and permanently.
“The share of consumers who reported shopping and paying for retail purchases online increased from 41.8 percent in 2019 to 56.4 percent in 2020, marking a 34.9 percent in-crease,” according to the 2020 Remote Payments Study.
“We saw the opposite trend regarding their in-store shopping habits, however. The share of those who shopped and paid for retail goods at brick-and-mortar stores decreased from 42.2 percent in 2019 to 32.1 percent in 2020, meaning that consumers are 24 percent less likely to make in-store retail purchases now than they were last year.”
And those transactions are increasingly mobile. A key finding of the report is that consumers’ use of mobile phone in stores rose by 25.2 percentage points, auguring a future wave.
“There has been a sharp increase in consumers’ mobile device usage to accommodate their in-store shopping. Our research indicates that 72.1 percent of consumers were using mobile devices while shopping in brick-and-mortar stores in 2020, up from 46.9 percent last year and representing a 53.7 percent increase,” according to the 2020 Remote Payments Study.
Changes to many aspects of life are more than societal: “[The pandemic and reopening mark] an inflection point in the connected economy, accelerating a massive migration in consumer demand from the physical world to the digital one. Consumers living under stay-at-home orders and shopping experiences they have traditionally sought in person.