With just over 22% of UK smartphone owners using their phones to pay for goods in 2018, mobile payments are still far off from widespread adoption. However, they are becoming more popular, according to new research from eMarketer.
The research company expects proximity mobile payments to grow to a user share of 28.8% in 2021.
Nine million people in the UK are expected to use their mobile devices at point of sale this year.
China has the overall largest mobile proximity payments market worldwide. 77.5% of smartphone users in the country are using mobile payments this year.
In Europe, Denmark (38.9%) leads in mobile payment penetration, followed by Sweden (33.9%), Norway (23.3%) and then the UK.
The main reason why the UK is lagging behind mobile payments is the country’s success with contactless card technology. The latter were available as early as 2007, and by 2014 Transport for London had jumped on board.
However, Bill Fisher, senior analyst at eMarketer, remains optimistic that mobile payments will take off in the UK.
“There’s no doubt that mobile proximity payments are beginning to get a foothold in the UK. But they face some tough competition that just isn’t present in many other countries. Any standard issue bank card in the UK, both debit and credit, now comes with contactless technology as standard. Mobile proximity payment providers need to convince consumers that their tech offers benefits above and beyond this well-entrenched, and incredibly convenient, method of proximity payment.”