Mobile Commerce & the Year of the Mobile Wallet

My general rule of thumb for a long time has been that anytime people are saying that “this is the year of (fill in the blank),” then assuredly it is not.

Being the real ‘year of’ implies mass adoption or acceptance. For example, we’re certainly past being in the year of the smartphone or the year of the tablet.

This brings me to this being the year of the mobile wallet.

The joint venture of AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile known as Isis just announced that it has averaged 20,000 mobile wallet downloads a day during the last month, which at first glance, makes it look like perhaps the year of the mobile wallet.

The reality is that mass adoption of mobile wallets is somewhat of a distance away.

When asked to rank the level of importance of each of the items in their physical wallet or purse in a recent survey by TSYS, 500 consumers ranked their driver’s license at the top of the list and business and loyalty cards at the bottom. Here’s what they said was important in their wallet:

  • 73% -- Driver’s license
  • 68% -- Payment cards
  • 59% -- Insurance cards
  • 27% -- Coupons
  • 24% -- Membership cards
  • 24% -- Loyalty cards
  • 24% -- Business cards

A driver’s license also rated at the top of the list of mobile wallets, followed by payment cards. More than half (52%) said they would store their driver’s license in their mobile device if it was accepted as legal proof of identification.

As to what consumers would include in a mobile wallet, presuming all security issues were removed, here’s how they ranked:

  • 55% -- Driver’s license
  • 54% -- Payment cards
  • 44% -- Insurance cards
  • 41% -- Loyalty cards
  • 40% -- Coupons
  • 36% -- Membership cards
  • 31% -- Business cards

As you might expect, and here’s the key: there are differences based on age group.

Almost a third (31%) of those 45 to 54 years old would potentially leave their physical wallet at home for a day compared to most (65%) of those 18 to 24 years old would.

Younger consumers also said they would use their mobile wallets more if it offered everything in their physical wallet.

Of those 18 to 24, most (76%) said they would use their mobile wallet more compared to 39% of those 45 to 54 and 34% of those 55 to 64.

For some, it looks like it’s the year of the mobile wallet.

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