According to Pew Research Center, two-thirds of Americans now own smart phones. For 7% of Americans, that is the only way they access the Internet outside of work. And it's more true of younger adults, 15% of them, than for the older population, who use personal computers or laptops.
Therefore, it's only logical that major brands want smart phone users to use their mobile wallets. Starbucks is the clear winner and model for success that other companies wish to emulate. This article in Mobile Payments Today wonders whether discount stores such as Wal-Mart, Target and Kohl's can achieve the same success.
Starbucks launched its mobile wallet in late 2012, and now processes 21% of their orders through it. 16 million customers use it.
According to Financial Brand technology companies such as Google and Samsung want a piece of this huge market as well.
And banks and credit unions are not ready to yield the financial services sector either, especially since they are rolling out ATMs that use mobile phones instead of plastic cards to make transactions.
However, for consumer companies, using a tech company's mobile payment solution is not optimal. Wal-Mart wants its customers loyal to Wal-Mart Pay, not Apple Pay or Android Pay. Nor do they want customers to think of Bank of America or their local credit union.
Just settling up the branded mobile wallet app on their phone engages the customer with the brand name. Decades of advertising and marketing experience has proven the more consumers think or interact with a brand, the more loyal they become to it. It's the principle of consistency. After installing the Wal-Mart mobile wallet on their phone they're more likely to go there than to Target on their next shopping trip.
15% of American consumers used a mobile wallet in the last half of 2015. 22% expect to do so in the first half of 2016. Obviously, this market cannot be ignored.
The consumer brands have one advantage the banks and tech companies can't match. Like Starbucks, they can attach a loyalty rewards program to reward them for shopping at that store and for using the mobile wallet. Therefore, they can feel virtuous for saving money in the future.
It's also likely that in the future consumer brands will partner with technology companies and banks, as Starbucks has done with Chase Pay, because some consumers may prefer to use one wallet to handle all their payments.
Netclearance Systems Inc offers turnkey wireless sensor and mBeaconPay technologies that enable both merchants and banks to bring out their own mobile wallets for their customers. Because mobile wallets do help retain customer loyalty, consumer businesses and banks need to offer their own branded options before their customers begin using Google's Android Pay or Apple Pay.