Worldwide mobile payment transaction values will surpass $171.5 billion in 2012, a 61.9 percent increase from the 2011 figure of $105.9 billion, according to a report from analyst firm Gartner, Inc. Gartner also predicts the number of mobile payment users will reach 212.2 million in 2012, up from 160.5 million in 2011.
The mobile payments market will experience fragmented services and solutions for the next two years, according to the firm, as technology providers will have to cater their solutions to the local market that will be using different access technologies, business models and partners, and under different regulatory conditions
"We expect global mobile transaction volume and value to average 42 percent annual growth between 2011 and 2016, and we are forecasting a market worth $617 billion with 448 million users by 2016," said Sandy Shen, research director at Gartner, in written statement. "This will bring opportunities for service and solution providers who will need to cater to the local demand patterns to customize their offerings."
According to the report, SMS remains the dominant access technology in developing markets because of the constraints of mobile devices and the ubiquity of SMS. Web/WAP is the preferred access technology in North America and Western Europe where mobile Internet is commonly available and activated on user devices. Gartner expects Web/WAP access to account for about 88 percent of total transactions in North America and about 80 percent in Western Europe by 2016. Near Field Communication (NFC) transactions will remain relatively low through 2015, although the firm predicts growth will start to pick up from 2016.
Gartner also predicts that merchandise purchases will drive transactions in North America and Western Europe. These will include e-commerce purchases where users buy online, as well as in-store purchases. Major e-tailers such as Amazon and eBay have developed strong mobile storefronts and have seen significant growth from the mobile channel, according to the report. For in-store purchases, Starbucks' Card Mobile app is now being rolled out nationwide in the U.S., following a successful pilot program, and Gartner expects a large number of merchants to introduce their own mobile payment services, trying to emulate Starbucks' success.