Economics

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Memo to Sports Planners: Get Online Mobile Payment Functionality. Now.

18 Nov, 2015

By: Mary Helen Sprecher

Mobile payment transactions, meaning using the smartphone to pay for just about anything, are expected to explode in popularity. And for event organizers, that translates into this: Keep up or get left behind.

An article in MediaPost notes that stateside, the total value of mobile payment transactions will grow 210% in 2016, according to a new forecast from eMarketer.

This year, domestic mobile payments will total $8.71 billion, with consumers spending an average of nearly $376 annually using their mobile phone as a payment method. By 2016, total mobile payment transactions will reach $27.05 billion, with users spending an average of $721.47 annually.

It’s hardly surprising; according to research, more than two-thirds (68 percent) of all adults own smartphones. More than 85 percent of all Americans under 30 have smartphones as well. And both groups are not just using them to check e-mail and play Angry Birds.

Total mobile payment sales will rise faster than average spending per consumer, next year, because of the growth in the number of overall users of the still emerging technology.

What event planners can use as a take-away from this is the fact that more people will, and will want to, use their devices for payment of everything from registration fees for events to any merchandise being sold. At the same time, they are interested in booking hotel rooms, setting up sightseeing tours for their off-times and more. In addition, users can order T-shirts and other merchandise, as well as make donations to sports foundations promulgated by the event.

Responsive design, already a standard in web design or redesign, use, means the opportunity for sports events to accept mobile payments would be the next logical step, as would the use of apps and features to allow for mobile payments.

Bryan Yeager, an eMarketer analyst, attributes the rise to several factors. “Mobile wallets like Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay, will become a standard feature on new smartphones."

“Also, more merchants will adopt point-of-sale systems that can accept mobile payments, and incentives like promotions and loyalty programs will be integrated to attract new users,” Yeager notes in the new reports.

The MediaPost article stated that overall, eMarketer expects there will be 23.2 million U.S. consumers to use proximity mobile payments in 2015. (It defines proximity mobile payments as point-of-sale transactions that use mobile phones as a payment method, via tapping, waving and similar functionality.)

By 2016, that number will grow 61.8% to 37.5 million, according to the research firm. In fact, research suggests top retailers are now generating over 50 percent of their sales via mobile.

Yet, even as more consumers adopt the technology, there will continue to be a gap between younger and older generations, with younger consumers more eager to embrace the mobile payment concept and older consumers being largely suspicious of it, and uncomfortable with it.

eMarketer expects consumers will move beyond primarily buying low-priced goods -- below $20 -- with mobile payments to a wider array of price points.

In 2015, medium-priced purchases -- ranging from $20 to $100 -- will comprise 45.5% of all mobile payment transactions, and grow to 63.9% by 2018. Low-priced transactions are expected to decline in proportion throughout the forecast period.

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