Name: The Consumer
Market Capitalization: N/A
1. 7.1 billion Number of consumers, with one added every eight seconds
2. 7.3 billion Number of active global mobile phones expected by 2014
3. 13.6 billion Number of payment cards expected to be in circulation by 2018
The Consumer: Always Ahead Of The Trend
At PYMNTS.com, our experts spend countless hours analyzing the news to predict the trends, technologies and playmakers that will drive the ongoing revolution in the payments space. We talk at length about whether older payments giants still have what it takes to compete, and give our analysis of the most disruptive up-and-comers.
But, despite all of our efforts, the real stakeholder behind all this movement, as identified by Market Platform Dynamics (MPD) CEO Karen Webster in her August piece “The Six Things That Will Change The Future Of Payments,” remains the consumer.
Payments has shown the willingness to change on a dime to meet consumer needs. Whether it was throwing out near-field communication (NFC) with the trash, ushering in a resurgence in biometrics or putting the phone at the center of commerce activity, consumers and their behavior, while unpredictable and elusive as ever, continued to be at the forefront of developments in the payments space.
A quick look at the headlines confirms that, for better or worse, there’s just no telling what will work in the marketplace. Self-checkouts, once a sure job killer that would change the future of commerce, were given the boot at supermarkets nationwide, while bitcoin, a virtual currency that has more friction at the point of sale than a sandbox has been heralded as the end to money as we know it and even conventional advertising, which has historically tried to direct consumer purchasing through a handful of trusty tricks, fell by the wayside as consumers gained the ability to become their own resource for readily accessible marketplace information.
The Retail Revolution
Fueling this consumer-centric shift is arguably the retail sector, which has the biggest incentive to change to new behaviors. Once upon a time, consumers had to go to the store to get their shopping done. Yes, consumers had their choice of stores, but on a basic level, shopping was conducted on the retailer’s terms. Mobile and online have changed this irrevocably.
A quick look at the top retailers reveals just how much retail, and with it payments, has been willing to change to fit consumer behavior. Whether it’s eradicating the point-of-sale (POS) entirely to accommodate shoppers as they navigate stores, sending push deals via mobile to capture new spend or total reinventing the idea of what it means to shop in a store altogether, retailers are now willing to slash any concept to the bone if it will help them get a leg up on the competition as habits evolve.
Consumer Quote Of The Year – “U.S. consumers don’t like harder. We like safe AND convenient,” Gloria Colgan, managing director, Market Platform Dynamics.