The Slow March of Mobile Payment Apps
Mobile payments have a ways to go, to state the obvious.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that those using mobile payments aren’t becoming regulars.
The latest research from Onavo Insights, based on an analysis of millions of iPhone users, shows that usage is relative small but somewhat consistent.
As no surprise, the leading app for mobile payments is Starbucks, followed by PayPal, Venmo, Square Wallet, PayPal Here and LevelUp.
What I find more interesting is the usage characteristics among those apps. The Starbucks app user taps into it on average eight times a month. It also is the only app in the group being used by a higher percentage of females than males.
The second most used app is Venmo, the app for sharing payments with friends, at seven times a month and LevelUp at six times monthly, followed in monthly usage by PayPal Here, PayPal and Square Wallet.
By age group, users of Venmo are the youngest, primarily in the 18-to-24-year-old group, with more LevelUp users in the 25-34-year-old group, the same as PayPal.
By gender, a large majority (79%) of Square Wallet users are male with more in the 65-year and older group.
The catch in all these payment apps is that over the last year, the market penetration has not climbed in any significant way, according to the research.
This data also reflect only the U.S. marketplace, hardly alone in geographies where mobile consumers are paying by phone.
Behavioral change can be slow and gradual. It also can become an add-on to something else.
For example, the Starbucks app offered free music and downloads long before mobile payments. In that case, consumer became accustomed to using the app to receive value and the payments option added later was a small leap.
The companies behind all the payment apps are learning and adapting along the way. They likely are encouraged by some of their own app retention statistics.
And they continue to wait for more users.