In-store contactless mobile spend up 336% in the UK

This entry was posted on Monday, August 28th, 2017.

WorldPay has confirmed that mobile contactless transactions topped £370 million in the UK during the first six months of 2017, marking an impressive 336% year on year rise in spending.

According to WorldPay, the use of mobile devices to make in-store payments has been growing steadily since the UK launch of Apple Pay in 2015. Nevertheless, the technology has gained widespread acceptance beyond ‘early adopters’ over the past 12 months, with mobile payments further fueled by the launch of Android Pay in 2016 and Samsung Pay in 2017.

Image Credit: WorldPay

Specifically, monthly spending on mobile devices has jumped by 57% in the past half year (£46 million spent using mobiles in January 2017, compared to £74 million in June 2017), while mobile’s share overall in-store transactions has increased from 1.18% at the end of 2016 to 2.04% in June 2017. Moreover, spending on all forms of contactless systems now accounts for 38% of all non-cash transactions in the UK, while total contactless spend in 2017 reached £9bn up to June, compared to £10bn throughout the whole of 2016.

It should be noted that supermarkets and grocery stores continue to dominate the UK mobile tap and pay market, accounting for 55% of total spend thus far in 2017. Perhaps not surprisingly, Londoners still spend the most on their mobiles, although the proportion of transactions concentrated around the Capital has decreased from 32% at the end of 2016, to 28% in 2017, as adoption becomes more widespread across the UK.

According to eMarketer’s Cliff Annicelli, wider availability of proximity mobile payment systems among Android users is likely to have played a role in spreading usage beyond London, where the ability to pay for rides on the city’s mass transit system using Apple Pay was a driving force in user adoption. In addition, says Annicelli, Apple is also likely to have helped proximity mobile payments’ cause by removing the £30 limit on Apple Pay purchases in May of this year.

In related news, a new study by Juniper Research predicts that smaller merchants in the UK will increasingly embrace mobile point of sale accessories (which facilitate payments via a connection to a mobile device) as competition in the space intensifies. According to Juniper Research analysts, Square’s recent entry into the UK will provide an added stimulus to the market. In turn, this growth is expected to accelerate the transition from cash to card payments, particularly for lower-value transactions.

The above-mentioned study also determined that more than half (53%) of global transactions at point of sale will be contactless within 5 years, compared to just 15% this year. In the U.S., adoption is expected to increase sharply over this period, with contactless rising from less than 2% of transactions this year to 34% by 2022. Adoption has soared in markets – such as Poland and the UK – where contactless has been heavily promoted, while mandates both from Visa and Mastercard mean that all POS terminals in many markets must be contactless-enabled by 2020.


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