Amazing Stats Demonstrating The Unstoppable Rise of Mobile Payments Globally

Updated February 2020

Mobile proximity payments are the future as we move towards a cashless world. In some markets, cash is already a thing of the past but many nations are slower to make the mobile switch for a number of reasons. 

We’ve collected the latest and most significant data on mobile payments and broken them down into sections covering global data, the US, East Asia, Europe and the UK.  This data was updated in February 2020.

Global Mobile Payment Statistics

1 Billion
people are predicted use a mobile payment app worldwide in 2020

It is forecast that by 2023 this will grow to 1.31 billion people worldwide using mobile payments apps over a 6 month period. 

eMarketer

Publication Date: Oct 2019

0 %
of smartphone users predicted to make an in-store mobile payment in 2019

The vast majority of mobile payment users are in Asia-Pacific (mainly China) but proximity mobile payments are also popular among smartphone users in India, Denmark, Sweden and South Korea.

eMarketer

Publication Date: Oct 2019

$ 881 Billion
forecasted global mobile payment market size by 2024

This is a huge increase from the $881 Billion in 2018 and is a compound annual growth rate of 23.2% during the forecast period (2019-2024).

Alipay Is Now The World’s Biggest Mobile Payment Platform With 1.2bn+ Users

With China’s huge population driving its mobile payments industry, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the global market is dominated by Chinese tech firms. Alipay is the world’s biggest mobile payment platform with more than 1.2 billion daily active users, overtaking previous leader WeChat Pay (although this could all change when Q4 2019 reports are released). Either way, these two Chinese mobile payment solutions overshadow every other provider across the globe in terms of pure user numbers.

CompanyActive usersLatest figures from
Alipay1.2 billion+Alipay (Q3 2019)
WeChat1.151 billionTencent (Q3 2019)
Apple Pay441 millionLoup Ventures (Q3 2019)
PayPal305 millionPayPal (Q4 2019)
Samsung Pay51 millionJuniper (2018)
Amazon Pay50 millionEvercore ISI, Investopedia (May 2018)
Google Pay39 millionJuniper (2018)

Global Use Of Mobile Payments Forecast To Surpass Credit Cards And Cash

According to the 2019 Mobile Payments Market – Growth, Trends, and Forecast (2020-2025) report by Mordor Intelligence, the use of mobile payments is set to continue its inexorable rise with a compound annual growth rate of 26.93% between 2020 – 2025 as  mobile payment applications like PayPal, Samsung Pay, Apple Pay, AliPay, WeChat Pay are used to accept payments. 

This research builds on the 2018 Worldpay report we previously reported that predicted mobile payments becoming the second most common payment method after debit cards by 2022. These global stats mask a lot of variability between regions which are covered further down in this article. 

Global Share of Point Of Sale Payment Methods 2018-2022

50+ Global Mobile Payment Stats & Trends (2020 Update) Screenshot 2019 02 14 at 14.36.29

Chart by MerchantSavvy.co.uk | Data Source: Worldpay's 2018 Global Payment Report 

Businesses Plan To Increase Support For Mobile POS Payments

The sixth annual Mobile Payments and Fraud Survey conducted in 2018 by Kount found that that 37% of the merchants that participated already supported mobile payments at the Point of Sale (i.e. via NFC, Mobile Web, Mobile Wallets, etc.) and 31.4% planned to add to this feature or increase it. 

The survey had 600 participants with 70% doing business in the US,  44% are doing business in Canada, 45% doing business in Western Europe, 40% doing business in Asia and compared to 33% in Eastern Europe.

Payment Channels Merchant Plan To Support & Increase

50+ Global Mobile Payment Stats & Trends (2020 Update) Screenshot 2019 02 15 at 09.26.54

Mobile Payment Usage Is Highest In China, Denmark, India, South Korea And Sweden 

According to eMarketer’s Global Mobile Payment Users (2019) report, China has by far the highest mobile payment adoption rate with a huge 81.1% of smartphone users adopting the technology. This corresponds to the actual usage numbers in China where Alipay and WeChat Pay dominant, as shown above.

Mobile Payment Adoption by Country (2019)

50+ Global Mobile Payment Stats & Trends (2020 Update) Mobile Payment Adoption By Country 2019

Chart by MerchantSavvy.co.uk | Data Source: eMarketer and Kantar TNS

US Mobile Payment Statistics

Apple Pay Finally Overtakes Starbucks To Become The Top Mobile Payment App In The US (2019)

Mobile payments have been so slow to take off in the US that, until last year, Starbucks’ mobile app was the most popular mobile payment platform in the country.

Back in 2018, the distance was big enough that eMarketer predicted the coffee giant would hold on to its lead into 2022 but Apple Pay enjoyed some faster-than-expected growth in 2019 to become the market leader.

While Starbucks no longer comes out on top, it’s still way ahead of Google Pay and Samsung Pay in the US and its success does offer some interesting insights.

Users of Mobile Payment Platforms in The US (millions) - 2019

50+ Global Mobile Payment Stats & Trends (2020 Update) Users of Mobile Payment Platforms in The US 2019 millions

Chart by MerchantSavvy.co.uk | Data Source: emarketer

What does the Starbucks app have in common with Chinese payment giants Webo and Alipay? Well, for one thing, it’s compatible across all mobile devices – unlike Apple Pay, Android Pay and the other US mobile payment solutions. In China, South Korea and Asia’s other mobile payment leaders, consumers can choose a single mobile payment solution that works for them everywhere, across every device – online and offline.

Mobile Payments In The US Are Growing From A Low Base

Whilst Mordor Intelligence is forcasting the global use of mobile payments will grow by 26.93% between 2020-2025 and overtake cash and credit cards (see Global chart in the section above), they forecast the use in North America will more than double from 3% to 7%. This is obviously still significantly below the global adoption levels but the adoption rate indicates it will continue to take market share from cash and soon overtake  it. 

The consumer payment survey outlined below also indicates the days of cash payments are numbered. 

US Point of Sale Payment Methods Forecast 2018 - 2022

50+ Global Mobile Payment Stats & Trends (2020 Update) Screenshot 2019 02 14 at 15.45.30

Chart by MerchantSavvy.co.uk | Data Source: Worldpay's 2018 Global Payment Report 

US Consumers Believe Mobile Payments Are Not As Safe As Traditional Methods

According to research from Simon-Kucher & Partners, 40% of US consumers who don’t use mobile payments cite security concerns as a major reason.

Their research found that 89% of US consumers preferred to pay by cash, credit card or debit card over mobile alternatives.

As you can see in the chart on the right, similar security concerns were found in research by Pew which found only 22% of US consumers asked in the survey described mobile payments as “well protected”.

Percentage of US Respondents By Payment Type (2019)

US Consumer Safety Concerns Over Mobile Payments - 2019 Data
0 x
The US mobile payments market is 6 times smaller than world leader China

According to The State of Mobile Payments in 2019 (PDF) report, published by the Electronic Transaction Association, US consumers spent $64 billion on mobile devices in 2018. This marks a 42% increase on the previous year but still pales in comparison to the $414 billion spent by Chinese consumers in 2018.

$ 0 Billion
forecasted value of in-store mobile payments in the US by 2021

This would equate to a 40% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) which is a drop  from previous forecasts given by Business Intelligence. They note how the growth has not lived up to early hopes saying “usage is consistently lagging below expectations, with estimates for 2019 falling far below what we expected just two years ago.” This equates to 48% of the US consumer population – this figure was previously forecast to be 56% by 2020. 

0 %
Like The Convenience Of Smartphone Payment Apps

According to the TSYS US Consumer Payment Study, interest in mobile payment solutions is steadily increasing in the US. More than half of people questioned in the study (51%) said they are interested in trying mobile wallets instead of a payment card.

Could it be the hunger is there for mobile payments in the US but the technology and implementation simply haven’t offered anything more convenient than cash and cards?

East Asia Mobile Payment Statistics

Mobile Is Going To Dominate Point Of Sale Payments

Countries in Asia Pacific are dominating the global uptake of e-wallets and mobile POS payments. Within that region, China is one of the biggest proponents of e-wallets and research from eMarketer indicates that more than 49.6% of China’s huge population is already using mobile payments while 81.1% of smartphone users in the country are making payments with their mobiles.

The region as a whole is forecast to continue its relentless move towards a new cashless society with the Worldpay Global Payments report mentioned earlier predicting a huge drop in cash offset by skyrocketing use of mobile payments.

Asia Pacific Point of Sale Payment Methods Forecast 2018 - 2022

Asia Pacific POS payment methods

Chart by MerchantSavvy.co.uk | Data Source: Worldpay's 2018 Global Payment Report 

0 Million
Number of Proximity mobile payment users in China in 2019

Proximity payment users grew 10.0% in 2019 to reach 577.4 million which is by far the largest in the world . 

eMarketer

Publication Date: Oct 2019

$ 0 Billion
of transactions processed by South Korea’s Kakao Pay in 2018

South Korea might not be able to compete with China in terms of population but it’s one of the few countries that could claim to have integrated mobile payments into everyday life as effectively. The country’s biggest social network also happens to be a leader in mobile payments and Kakao Pay alone processed $17.7 billion worth of transactions in 2018.

0 %
Smartphone users in China use proximity mobile payments

This is a high proportion of smartphone users but it is worth noting that only 49.6% of the overall population. This means there is still huge room for growth in China. 

eMarketer

Publication Date: Oct 2019

Plenty Of Room For Growth – Only 47% Of Adults In Southeast Asia Have A Bank Account

Southeast Asia is one of the most rapidly developing technology regions in the world but there’s a major barrier standing in the way of mobile payments – and it’s not smartphone penetration. In 2016, research from KPMG revealed that only 27% of people across the region had a bank account.

However, the regions staggering financial growth has increased adoption with data from CBInsights in 2018 pointing to 47% of adults in the region now having a bank account.

Which means the only thing more staggering than the growth taking place in Southeast Asia right now is how much room there still is for further growth in a region of more than 655 million people.

Southeast Asia Is The Fastest-Growing Region In The World For Mobile Payments

While China boasts all the big user numbers, Southeast Asia is emerging as the world’s mobile payments hotspot. This is where adoption is growing fastest around the world and the region is no longer relying on Singapore to drive growth.

A 2016 report from Frost & Sullivan named Singapore as Southeast Asia’s mobile payments leader, largely thanks to its 85% smartphone penetration, high average wages and strong consumer culture. Despite its population of just 5.6 million (compared to Indonesia’s 264 million), Singapore’s mobile payments market was already worth more than $1 billion in 2016.

Things are starting to change, though, driven by countries like Thailand where 92% of devices (mobile vs desktop) are smartphones. Southeast Asia has become a mobile-first region and, for many, it’s a mobile-only region.

Research carried out by Hootsuite and We Are Social reveals that Indonesia has the world’s highest mobile eCommerce penetration rate at 76% (vs China’s 74%) and Thailand has the world’s largest mobile banking penetration rate at 74% (beating Sweden’s 71%).

Hong Kong & Taiwan Have Been Slower Than China To Adopt Mobile Payments – But Things Are Changing

China’s connections with Hong Kong and Taiwan are complex (and beyond the scope of this article) but we can confidently say mobile payment habits are widely different on the two islands compared to mainland China.

Cash and cards still rule in Hong Kong but GroupM’s latest mobile wallet study suggests things are changing with mobile wallet penetration has grown from 65% to 89%.

Meanwhile, the Taiwanese government has set itself the target of getting 90% of smartphone users to adopt mobile payments by 2025, according to BI Intelligence.

European Mobile Payment Statistics

0 %
of European millennials saying they'll mobile payments in 2020

Back in 2017, Visa Europe revealed how millennials were driving the mobile payment revolution with 92% of the tech-savvy generation saying they’ll adopt the technology by 2020.

However, the true mobile payment adopters will be Generation Z with research from Business Insider showing more than 50% of Gen Zers are already using digital wallets on a monthly basis and more than 75% use other digital payment apps or P2P platforms.

Visa Europe

Publication Date: 2017

0 Billion
digital transactions in 2018 in the UK, the highest in Euope

Data from the European Central Bank (ECB) published in Nov 2019 shows that the proportion of payments made on card machines continues to accelerate throughout Europe.  

The United Kingdom is the biggest cashless spender with more than 27.7 billion digital transactions in 2018, followed by France (23.5bn) and Germany (22.7bn).

0 %
of Europeans use mobile banking on a regular basis

Mastercard’s 2019 Digital Banking Study reveals how crucial mobile banking has become to most people in Europe. The study finds that 84% of Europeans use mobile banking on a regular basis with 63% using mobile banking from traditional banks and a further 21% from digital-only banks.

Security & Privacy Of Mobile Payments Are Still Concerns For European Consumers

The Mobile Payment Report 2019 (PDF) by PwC shows that security concerns remain a barrier for wider adoption of mobile payments, especially when it comes to contactless methods. The report says 75% of respondents across European nations list security as a major concern while more than 50% also state privacy as a key concern.

68% Of Europeans Used A Digital Wallet 

Visa Europe research also shows 68% of European consumers used a mobile wallet in 2017. The payment giant says Europeans “are feeling increasingly comfortable doing transactions on their mobile devices, moving away from desktops and laptops as nearly half (48%) of Europeans use a mobile device to shop….Almost the same number (45%) send money to friends and family using a smartphone or tablet.”

UK Mobile Payment Statistics

£ 0
average transaction value per user in the Mobile POS Payments segment amounts (2023 forecast)

This forecasted amount is a large increase on the £2,337 average average transaction value per user in the Mobile POS Payments forecast for 2020. 

0 %
of over 2,000 people surveyed in the UK used mobile payments in 2018

 

This is a 50% increase from 16% who said the same in April 2017. It is worth noting that the same study found the use of payments made by contactless wearables increased from 11% to 15% over the same period. 

This data originally comes from two Mintel Consumer Payment Preferences reports (June 2017 and May 2018) from which the Payment Systems Regulator has compiled in its 2018 Contactless mobile payments report

0 Million
Forecast number of Mobile POS Payment users in the UK in 2023

It is forecast that the number of people using mobile payments in the UK will grow from aroudn 5 million in 2020 to around 6.2 million just 3 years later. 

Gen Z and Millennials Are Driving The Mobile Payment Push

Unsurprisingly, it’s Generation Z and Millennials who are driving the shift towards mobile payments in the UK. UK Finance’s report also breaks down mobile payment adoption in the country by age group to give a generational overview of the mobile transition.

As you can see, Generation Z has the slight edge in mobile payment adoption in the UK but Millennials are close behind them. At this stage, it’s safe to assume this gap will only increase as more Gen Zers come of age and mature into the most prominent generation of consumers.

Percentage of each age group registered for mobile payments in the UK

Proportion of people in each age group registered for mobile payments in the UK

Rapid-Service Food Businesses Are The Biggest Winners From UK Mobile Payments

According to research from Cardlytics in 2018, the UK businesses winning most from the rise of mobile payments are quick-service restaurants (11.3%), coffee shops (11%), public transport (11%) and bars and pubs (9.25%). Meanwhile, separate research from Worldpay indicates fashion retailers have seen the most growth in mobile payments with an increase of almost 500% between 2017-2018.

London Is The UK Capital Of Mobile Payments

Unsurprisingly, the same piece of research from Cardlytics shows London is the biggest adopter of mobile payments in the UK, accounting for 7% of all transactions under £30 and 5.7% of all transactions – at least 2% higher than any other region.

The East of England is the second-biggest adopter of mobile payments (3.3%) and the South East comes in at third (3.2%) with Yorkshire taking fourth spot (2.9%).

Throughout this article mobile payments is defined as using a mobile device to make a in-store or point of sale payments using mobile wallets and technology like near-field communication (NFC) payments like Apple pay uses, Magnetic secure transmission (MST) payments like Samsung Pay or Sound waves-based / signal based payments. We are not referring to using mobile phones to transfer money remotely or purchase something online through a payment processor (e.g. via PayPal or entering credit card details). If you are looking for more information on mCommerce, check our global mobile eCommerce stats and forecasts article.

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