Gartner—Finally—Drops NFC Mobile Payment Predictions

Gartner has officially dropped its projected NFC mobile payment transaction volume by more than 40 percent, raising questions about what Gartner had been thinking when it initially released the figures.

"The forecasted NFC transaction value has been reduced by more than 40 percent because adoption of the technology was lower than expected in all markets in 2012 and because high-profile services such as Google Wallet and Isis are struggling to gain traction," reported Mobile Commerce Daily.

The key point of the story was captured in a quote attributed to Drew Sievers, a co-founder/CEO of mFoundry: "There is no significant value proposition so there is no catalyst for consumers to adopt the technology." Exactly. But there never was. Did Gartner originally think that NFC mobile payment hype would have delivered transactions?

The situation would be different had Google or Isis promised specific consumer incentives and then reversed course. That reversal would have been a perfectly legitimate reason for Gartner to change its figures. But the consumer incentives that both firms originally proposed—none—were exactly the ones they launched with.

Did Gartner truly think that shoppers would radically change their behavior just for the fun of it? The only retailer that has been able to make any movement with mobile payment—Starbucks—proves the point. It did so by not using NFC or any true mobile technology. Starbucks changed shoppers' behaviors by hardly changing them at all.

Starbucks had already trained its customers to pay for drinks by handing over their Starbucks cards. All the company did was place a picture of the card's barcode on the phone. Not only did this require almost no meaningful behavioral change from shoppers (handing over the card so the barcode could be scanned gently morphed into handling over the phone so the barcode could be scanned), but it even required almost no change on the behalf of employees.

The surprise isn't that Gartner reduced its number. It's why the number was ever that high.

For more:
- See the Mobile Commerce Daily story

Related stories:
Tesco Really Doesn't Like NFC
Isis Revamps Its Mobile Wallet And It's Actually Fixing What's Broken
The Long—Make That Really Long—Goodbye To Google Checkout