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M-payments driving global m-commerce adoption, MEF study suggests

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Ninety per cent of mobile wallet and payment tool users buy things on mobile, compared with 65% of mobile content consumers, and all are more likely to interact more with mobile services such as advertising and location-based stuff, finds a 13-country, 10,000 consumer-quizzing survey by MEF and OnDevice Research.

In 2013, 15% of mobile media users made some form of mobile payment to make a purchase, the study finds. The largest group of these users – some 7% of the total sample – did so via a mobile wallet, especially those based on Near Field Communications (NFC) technology.

Mobile money users also spend more on individual purchases. They are 10 per cent less likely to make low value payments and 14 per cent more likely to make mid-value purchases.

And mobile money users don’t just buy more than the average mobile user. They do more of everything. They are 12% more likely to scan barcodes, 11% more likely to make charitable donations and 10% more likely to use location-based services.

MEF’s Mobile Money consumer insight report suggests that mobile banking is already mainstream in many regions, but for different reasons. In the US, UK and China the use of mobile apps for checking balances and paying bills is commonplace. Whereas in Africa handsets are used to send airtime to other users, transfer funds and seek credit.

In Africa, the ‘mobile-only’ culture means the mobile money account is the bank account. Globally, 66% of mobile media users use some form of mobile banking. In Kenya, for example, it’s 92%.

The study also reveals the importance of network speed to the uptake of mobile money. A quarter of users claim they don’t make mobile payments because ‘the network is too slow’. That might help explain why fewer than one in seven mobile media users have made some form of mobile payment.

Conversely, those connected to super-speedy 4G networks are much more engaged: almost two in three (64%) have made a mobile payment.

Rimma Perelmuter, CEO at MEF explains: “Our 2014 Mobile Money Insight Report clearly highlights that early adopters of mobile money are key to accelerating the growth of mobile commerce. This is true both in terms of their propensity to spend more on individual purchases and their likelihood to engage with a wider array of mobile services. In many markets, mobile money has already hit the mainstream, with Africa leading the way. Faster mobile networks will only advance its adoption further worldwide.”

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