Mobile wallet use in Italy is growing even as its government faces cash mess

Mobile Wallet Italy

Italian consumers are increasingly turning to their smartphones to pay for products and services.

According to the results of the PYMNTS Q3 2022 ConnectedEconomy Index “How the World Does Digital” study, mobile wallet use is on the rise in Italy even as that country’s government struggles with cash chaos.

The research tracked digital engagement across 11 different countries, including payments via smartphone.

What the mobile wallet study found was that there was a rise in usage during routine activities. This suggests that the growth isn’t just based on specific circumstances or novelty, but that it is sustainable as consumers build new habits within their everyday lives. It also indicates that more growth could still be expected as additional consumers continue to move in digital directions.

mobile wallet - Person in Italy on phone at restaurant

The study involved tracking a spectrum of different daily activities including streaming videos, telehealth, and the use of wearables. That said, another specific area of focus was on the use of smartphones for making digital payments in-store.

The research made it possible to track the trends in digital payments made at brick-and-mortar locations alongside the increase in digital engagement throughout other day-to-day activities. The countries that saw the fastest rates of growth in regular digital transactions were Italy, Japan, and Singapore.

Italy has seen a particular spotlight in mobile wallet use instead of using traditional cash payments.

In Italy, there was a tremendous 13 percent quarter-over-quarter increase in the use of smartphone based payments when purchasing a product at a physical store location. This was considerably higher than the other 10 countries in the sample, among which the average growth rate in that category was 4 percent. The report showed that about one in five Italian customers had paid for their most recent in-store purchase using a smartphone app during Q3 2022.

Last year, the use of smarphones instead of cash became a hot topic. At first, Giorgia Meloni, the new Italian prime minister proposed that merchants should be given the choice as to whether to accept mobile wallet transactions or not when a purchase was under €60. However, opponents of the proposal shut it down, calling it an example of how the government of Italy was overreaching.

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