A new survey conducted by ABI research found that in most developed areas of the world, person-to-person mobile payments aren’t of much interest to consumers.
The survey, conducted in November 2009 in seven countries on three continents, found consistently low levels of interest in making person-to-person payments via the mobile phone. The survey polled subscribers, equally divided by gender, in Germany, France, the UK, the US, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea. In all, about 200 respondents participated from each country.
The overall results showed that only 16% of Western Europeans surveyed considered themselves “extremely” or “very” interested in mobile P2P payments, while in the United States, the percentage was only 9%. Consumers in the three Asia Pacific countries showed much greater interest, however, at 34% overall. “It’s tough to make a convincing case for mobile P2P in most developed markets,” explained senior analyst Mark Beccue. “We believe it will have minimum impact in these markets because some forms of electronic P2P such as PayPal have operated there for several years with relatively low market penetration; and because these markets boast extensive ATM and banking networks, giving consumers easy access to cash to conveniently conduct P2P transactions.”
In developing markets, however, the results would be far different, says Beccue. “In parts of Africa, Asia, and Latin America which generally lack good tools for convenient P2P transactions other than face-to-face, mobile payment methods will be huge.”
While it’s somewhat surprising that there’s an apparent lack of interest in mobile payments in the US and Europe, I think it differs greatly from consumer’s interest in mobile commerce in general. While interest in direct person-to-person payments might not be what many expect, interest in other forms of mobile commerce, such as in-app purchases and commerce-related calls-to-action in mobile marketing, will much greater. Still, the research sheds an interesting light on mobile payments in areas of the world that should be embracing it more than ever.