78% Aware of Mobile Wallets, 32% Use Them

Cash is no longer king, providing some hope for the future of mobile wallets.

One out of two consumers today carry fewer than $20 and fewer than a third carry more than $30 on any given day, based on a new study looking at the future of digital wallets.

And while most consumers (78%) are aware of digital wallets, only about a third (32%) has ever used them, according to the 2014 Digital Wallet Usage Study by Thrive Analytics.

However, the picture is somewhat different by age, with 43% of those 18 to 29 years old having used digital wallets compared to 18% by those 44 years or older.

In yet another indicator of the fragmentation of the mobile payments market, the study found a wide range of digital wallets being used. At the top of the pack, as might be expected, are PayPal and Google Wallet, trailed by many others. Here are the digital wallets consumers have used:

  • 79% -- PayPal
  • 40% -- Google Wallet
  • 26% -- Groupon
  • 17% -- Apple Passbook
  • 5% -- MasterCard PayPass
  • 4% -- Dwolla
  • 4% -- Venmo
  • 4% -- Isis
  • 3% -- Zip Pay
  • 3% -- Lemon Wallet
  • 2% -- Visa V.Me
  • 2% -- Bump Pay
  • 1% -- Geode
  • 1% -- Chirpify

The wallets also aren’t used regularly, with only 7% using them daily and a third (33%) weekly.

The usage patterns are somewhat different based frequency of usage, with the highest  (60%) for Apple’s Passbook, trailed by Google Wallet (49%) and PayPal (40%).

Most digital wallets are accessed on a mobile phone and almost all (91%) users of them have positive experiences, according to the Thrive Analytics survey of 2,038 smartphone owning adults, all part of the company’s connected experience panel.

Security continues to be the leading concern of those not using digital wallets. Here’s what’s holding them back:

  • 46% -- Security of mobile payments
  • 37% -- Easier to pay with cash, credit or debit card
  • 32% -- Never really thought about it
  • 18% -- Don’t see the benefit
  • 8% -- Don’t have necessary features on phone
  • 7% -- Too time consuming to set up

By amount being spent on mobile transactions, almost half of consumers spend between $20 and $30 but most (59%) frequent users spend fewer than $10 per transaction.

Leading the list of mobile purchases are less expensive items, like coffee and snacks, though the types of items being bought via mobile is somewhat extensive:

  • 35% -- Coffee, drinks, snack food
  • 32% -- Clothes, shoes, jewelry
  • 20% -- Groceries
  • 18% -- Books
  • 18% -- Movie tickets
  • 17% -- Games, apps, music
  • 14% -- Fast food, pizza
  • 13% -- General retail
  • 12% -- Electronics
  • 12% -- Flowers, gifts
  • 11% -- Health, beauty services
  • 10% -- Automotive related services
  • 9% -- Travel products

Major retailers have told me that most of their mobile commerce comes via their mobile website rather than their app, though retailer apps are active, based on the Thrive Analytics study.

The majority (53%) of consumers have used the retailers’ apps, though for somewhat different reasons based on demographics.

Females tend to use merchant apps to get coupons and discounts while males use them for browsing and service related activities, based on the study.

With consumers carrying less cash, the obvious opportunity and challenge is to get more of that cash stored in and flowing through mobile.

Then mobile will be king.


Mobile wallet and payments as well as all the other major issues relating to mobile commerce will be discussed at the MediaPost OMMA mCommerce conference in New York on Aug. 7. You can check out the agenda where you also can register to attend. Will I see you there?

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