Last May we talked about how Starbucks was the most widely used mobile payment method. While not surprising then, I wrote back then that we'd see those numbers shift over time as NFC terminals saw greater adoption and use cases became more common.
Starbucks has a daily use case with the relevant technology in all their stores that guarantee acceptance, compared to the NFC based payment methods put forth by Apple and Google that aren’t universally accepted and, compared to a card swipe, are still more complicated. However, I do think the chart below will turn out to be wildly off in the out years. As NFC enabled terminals become the norm, consumer EMV adoption gets to 75%+ and lines slow down, I believe Apple Pay and Google Pay become the better experience that result in more usage. This will have them well outpacing Starbucks when it comes to usage (there are simply more things people buy than Starbucks coffee).
According to the lastest eMarketer report, Apple Pay in particular has grown faster than original estimates. The most recent study finds the US has 30.3 million Apple Pay users, with represents almost 50% of total mobile based payment users (47.3% to be exact).
Apple Pay has benefited from the spread of new point-of-sale (POS) systems that work with the NFC signals Apple Pay runs on,” said eMarketer principal analyst Yory Wurmser. “The same trend should also help Google Pay and Samsung Pay, but they will continue to split the Android market.”
Technology for proximity mobile payments is gaining traction, especially at frequently used retailers like grocery stores. According to Digital Trends, Apple Pay is expected to be available in 70% of US retailers by the end of 2019. The strong uptake prompted eMarketer to revise its figures upward. And while the Starbucks app has enjoyed around a 40% market share of mobile payments users for a few years, its growth potential is more limited since it can only be used at Starbucks stores.