More than a third of smartphone users worldwide will use their mobile phone to pay for a purchase at a physical point of sale (POS) at least once every six months this year, says eMarketer. By 2021, that figure will reach 39.8%, or roughly 1.12 billion people.
eMarketer expects that 13.2% of the global population will be proximity mobile payment users this year. By 2021, that proportion is expected to grow to 17.2%.
China is the world’s leader in proximity payments: eMarketer projects that more than 61% of mobile payment users in 2018 will be based in the country.
The main driver of growth in the number of proximity mobile payment users will be rising retailer acceptance, in tandem with the expansion of the “big three” international providers—Android Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay—and China’s Wechat Pay and AliPay, which have been expanding throughout Asia-Pacific.
“This year will be a turning point for in-store mobile payments, as it’s the first year the majority of new users will come from outside of China,” said Chris Bendtsen, senior forecasting analyst at eMarketer. “China is still the only country with mainstream adoption, but now consumers and retailers in other parts of the world are starting to welcome the idea of using a phone to make a purchase. The specific services and technology may differ depending on the country, but it’s the same growing reliance on smartphones in everyday life that’s driving usage worldwide.”