Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Defining and sizing Mobile Payments

Mobile payments is one of the most discussed topic in financial services and however, whenever I read a new statistic about its incredible growth forecasts or a new blog post analyzing the topic I s feel we are trapped in a lack of clear definition of what mobile payments are that prevent us of real comparison and deep discussion about the data. 

Below is my attempt to clarify it. It is my own exercise trying to understand and analyze this exciting topic.

So what are mobile payments? In my view a mobile payment is any payment made using a mobile device. Simple. And as you can pay with your mobile device in a store but also from your home, broadly speaking, mobile payments can be broken in two different categories: m-commerce payments (browser or in-apps) and in-store payments also referred to as proximity payments or contactless mobile. This means that in-store mobile payments is only a part of mobile payments, and as we will see not the category with the largest volume.

Once we have the definition and scope of what mobile payments are, we can now analyze the size of the market. In the US,  the size of the market in 2015 (using eMarketer data) was $102.52 bn. M-commerce is by far the largest category, and represents 92% of all mobile payments volume,  but in-store payments is the fastest growing category and by 2019 will represent 45% of the volume.

We can do the same exercise for Spain. Here, we don´t have data for proximity payments, but if we assume that like in the US, it represents 8% of all mobile payments, we can infer that mobile proximity payments in Spain were $230 million in 2015.

In both countries we are assuming that all m-commerce purchases were made paying using the device, although we know that is not the case, as for example, in Spain, 10% of m-commerce purchases in 2015 were paid in cash on delivery. This means that total mobile payments in Spain after this correction was $2.64bn, $2.43bn of m-commerce payments and $0.21bn of proximity payments.

To add more complexity, we know that some in-app payments are made inside a store, this is what typically happens with merchant-branded apps (MyTaxi, Uber, Starbucks, etc.), but are reported as m-commerce and not in-store payments. As the boundaries between offline and online commerce blurs, our categorization may need to be revisited to a more pragmatic device owner present vs device owner not present.

Finally, mobile wallets are a functionality that enables the mobile device to store or access payment card or account information to be used to make online, in app or proximity payments. And mobile wallets are the factor that explains the extraordinary growth of mobile payments forecasted for the next 4 years. In other words, most of the growth of mobile payments, will be captured by mobile wallets: Alipay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Android Pay, bank wallets, etc.

                                             Source: BCC Research

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