Mobile commerce continues to be on the cusp of going mainstream
Mobile payments have been on the verge of becoming mainstream for years now. The idea is attractive to people that have become very reliant on smartphones and tablets, but it has yet to take hold with most people. The idea of shopping from a mobile device is very similar to the concept behind e-commerce. Shopping online is, perhaps, one of the most significant trends to emerge in the retail and business sectors in the past decade. In general, however, those that would be considered consumers are warming to the idea of mobile payments slowly.
While adoption may be sluggish, interest among consumers is high. A recent study released by Yankee Group shows that approximately 16% of people with mobile devices have used their device to make an in-store payment in the past three months. Two-thirds of consumers have reported that they are interested in using their devices to purchase products in stores. Others show favor for shopping for and purchasing products online. Mobile commerce caters most to the latter group, as it supports the need to avoid the chaos that is sometimes associated with shopping at a physical store.
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There are few incentives to participate in mobile commerce beyond convenience
From 2011 to 2012, mobile payments tripled. This growth is expected to be maintained well into the future, with mobile transactions estimated to reach $58 billion by 2017. Despite what this growth may suggest, consumers actually lack incentive to participate in mobile commerce. Being the convenience aspect of mobile commerce, it does not offer any particular value to consumers. Retailers tend to offer special deals to mobile consumers, but these special offers are not exclusive and similar offers can be found quite easily. Mobile commerce platforms may be able to incentivize use by highlighting loyalty programs and similar initiatives that are not seen with credit cards, but whether consumers will show favor for such initiatives is difficult to say.
Another issue keeping mobile commerce from going mainstream actually has to do with competition. The lucrative nature of mobile commerce has sparked the formation of countless startups that offer mobile-centric services to consumers and businesses alike. While the oversaturation of the market may be good for consumers because it gives them plenty of options to choose from, it means that there is a distinct lack of recognition for emerging mobile commerce brands as well. Currently, PayPal is one of the most recognized names in the mobile space, but many consumers are hard-pressed to identify other platforms that they would be comfortable with using.