When consumers understand how NFC could be used for shopping, many easily jump on board.
The obvious problem is that most people have never heard of NFC (Near Field Communication) or what it does, even though they have it in their phone.
A new study attempted to analyze how consumers would view and use NFC, if they knew about it.
The study, conducted by Strategy Analytics for the NFC Forum, comprised a survey of 1,000 mobile phone owners in addition to observational research with 36 participants centered on NFC retail scenarios.
Researchers compared consumer preferences using NFC, QR codes, beacons and Web browsers.
In the five categories surveyed, NFC was the top preference. This is the breakdown of those who preferred to use NFC, by category:
Interestingly, using QR codes came in ahead of both beacons and Web browsers.
NFC information and scenarios were presented to the 1,000 consumers, likely many of whom did not previously know what NFC was, since it’s hardly a mainstream acronym.
One part of the research involved participating in retail and post-retail scenarios. In that portion of the study, 100 people had used NFC and 56 had used QR codes.
The simulation involved getting to a Web page by touchscreen or keyboard using QR codes and NFC, with both being timed. In that part of the study, 76% were very satisfied with NFC and 53% with QR codes.
As no surprise, either method was selected over physically entering a URL.
In the study, three NFC benefits were identified: speed, convenience and control.
The case can easily be made for speed, since NFC requires only a brief tap of a phone, as anyone using Apple Pay can attest.
To complete a transaction using NFC took 47 seconds compared to 62 seconds with QR codes.
In the survey, 70% of consumers said NFC addressed inconveniences they have and almost all (95%) of those who have tried NFC said they were satisfied with it.
And therein is the key challenge of NFC: most people have not tried it, never mind heard of it.
NFC is commonly identified with mobile payments, since it’s typically the technology used by Apple and others to execute secure mobile transactions.
And that’s the other end of the problem: NFC is not yet commonly accepted at all pay terminal locations.
There are more than 275 models of NFC-enable phones and 1 billion NFC phones shipped worldwide from last year to this, according to Strategy Analytics.
An intriguing aspect of the study is that 85% of those who expressed an interest in using NFC are most interested in store deals and coupons.
And as in other studies, more than half of participants would be willing to share personal information including gender, zip code, details of discount used, age and details of items purchased for those deals.
As mobile technologies like NFC continue to be introduced and adopted, many of the consumer behaviors and interests remain the same.