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Weekly Mobile Breakdown: Promise For Mobile Payments In U.K.

Tina Products/Markets Analyst
September 6, 2012

According to data released by eMarketer in the past few weeks, Internet users in the U.K. prefer to make online purchases via their PCs, but show interest in using their mobile phones as payment devices.  Ninety-one percent of Internet users in the U.K. prefer to make online purchases on their laptops or desktop computers, while only 5% prefer smartphone or tablet.  However, of the Internet users polled by Harris Interactive this past June, 49% and 45% are interested in using their smartphones as a payment device for transportation and bars/restaurants, respectively.


What does this mean for mobile?  Well, as of today, while mobile isn’t the preferred medium for consumers to “convert,” mobile does makes a great channel for consumer reach and engagement and product discovery in the U.K.  The mobile payments and NFC field is also showing much potential.  Considering smartphone penetration in the U.K. is 36.8% this year and is expected to reach 78.0% in 2016, security concerns aside, we will very likely see a proliferation of mobile payments in transportation, dining, and shopping in the near future. In addition, perhaps consumer preferences regarding mobile purchases may also change as smartphone penetration increases.  Since we’re already able to store coupons, loyalty cards, and gift cards on our mobile phones, we will likely see “mobile wallets” replace physical wallets to become the standard payment mechanism.











Based on the charts and research mentioned above, below are some key highlights and takeaways I think are important for mobile marketers & advertisers to consider.


  • Ninety-one percent of U.K. Internet users prefer to make a purchase via laptop/desktop
  • Five percent prefer to purchase via smartphone or tablet
  • Half of Internet users in Great Britain show interest in using mobile to pay for transport


  • U.K. Internet users are not comfortable making purchases on their mobile devices yet
  • Consumer preferences regarding purchase channel may change as smartphone penetration increases
  • Mobile payment and NFC transactions will become much more common, not just in the U.K., but other developed countries as well in the near future
  • Since consumers seem to be comfortable with the idea of storing financial data on their phones, perhaps someday we may be able to use our mobile devices to start up our cars or lock our homes



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