Worldwide mobile payment transaction values will reach $235.4 billion in 2013, a 44 percent increase from 2012 values of $163.1 billion, according to research firm Gartner.
The number of mobile payment users worldwide will reach 245.2 million in 2013, up from 200.8 million in 2012.
“We expect global mobile transaction volume and value to average 35 percent annual growth between 2012 and 2017, and we are forecasting a market worth $721 billion with more than 450 million users by 2017,” said Sandy Shen, research director at Gartner.
“Nevertheless, we have lowered the forecast of total transaction value for the forecast period due to lower-than-expected growth in 2012, especially in North America and Africa.”
Near Field Communications’ (NFC’s) transaction value has been reduced by more 40 percent throughout the forecast period due to disappointing adoption of NFC technology in all markets in 2012 and the fact that some high-profile services, such as Google Wallet and Isis, are struggling to gain traction.
Gartner forecasts that NFC will account for only about 2 percent of total transaction value in 2013 and 5 percent of the total transaction value in 2017, although growth is expected to increase somewhat from 2016 when the penetration of NFC mobile phones and contactless readers increases.
Money transfers and merchandise purchases will account for about 71 percent and 21 percent of total transaction value in 2013, respectively, making them by far the largest contributors. However, worldwide, people are not purchasing as much because the buying experience on mobile devices has yet to be optimized.
People are spending less via mobile devices than via online e-commerce services and at retail outlets. Merchandise purchases account for about 23 percent of the total value forecast for 2017.
Money transfer value continues to increase because users are transacting much more frequently (although at lower values) due to the wider availability of services and to transaction costs that are lower than those of traditional bank services. This makes money transfer a leading use case, one that Gartner forecasts to account for almost 69 percent of the total value in 2017.
Bill payment value is expected to grow 44 percent in 2013 and have consistent growth through the forecast period. This is due to higher value per transaction figures as more consumers in developed markets perform bill payments via mobile banking services along with consumers in emerging markets who are transacting at higher values originally forecast. Bill payments will account for about 5 percent of the total value forecast for 2017.
From a regional perspective, Asia-Pacific’s transaction value is expected to grow 38 percent in 2013 to reach $74 billion. Deployments in developed markets such as South Korea and Singapore and in developing markets such as India are expected drive healthy growth in this region.
As a result, in 2016, Asia-Pacific will overtake Africa to become the largest region by transaction value, reaching $165 billion. Africa’s transaction value is forecast to reach $160 billion in 2016.
While Africa will still experience strong growth through the forecast period, companies are still searching for the most suitable business model for mobile money in their local markets.