141 Million Consumers To Spend $86.1B Using Mobile Payments In 2011, Growing “Slower Than Expected”

In a new report published today by Gartner, the research firm is estimating that mobile payment users worldwide will surpass 141.1 million in 2011, a 38.2 percent increase from 2010, in which mobile payment users reached 102.1 million.

According to the research, worldwide mobile payment volume is projected to total $86.1 billion, up 75.9 percent from 2010 volume of $48.9 billion.  While growth is strong, Gartner analysts claim the mobile payments market is growing “slower than expected.”  Gartner’s projections are modest compared to similar estimates released by Juniper a few weeks ago.

Juniper estimates that the transaction value of mobile payments for digital and physical goods, money transfers and NFC transactions will reach an impressive $670 billion by 2015, up from $240 billion this year.  Gartner says that particularly in developing markets, growth in mobile payments is not as strong as expected.  “While developing markets have favorable conditions for mobile payments, such as high penetration of mobile devices and low banking penetration, this is no guarantee of success, unless service providers adapt their strategies to local market requirements,” said Sandy Shen, research director at Gartner.

According to the report, money transfers and “prepaid top-ups” will drive transaction volumes in developing markets.  These are seen as the “killer apps” in developing markets, where people value the convenience of sending money to relatives and topping up mobile accounts.  This is most obvious in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, where these two services will account for 54% and 32% of all transactions in 2011.

“Thanks to the success of mobile application stores, such as Apple’s App Store, and the efforts in driving mobile sales by major retailers, such as Amazon and eBay, merchandise purchases far outweigh other use cases in developed markets, which include North America and Western Europe,” Ms. Shen said.  “We predict that in 2011, merchandise purchases will account for 90% and 77% of all transactions in North America and Western Europe, respectively.”