Nearly 20 percent of all transactions globally are now made on a mobile device, up 55 percent year over year. Mobile payments grew 36 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013, according to the Adyen Mobile Payments Index.
Adyen looked at the variation in both volume and value of payments over mobile across five key industry verticals: travel, digital goods, gaming, retail and ticketing. Uptake in use of mobile devices to make payments over the last four months has been rapid across all sectors. Gamine experienced the greatest increase in mobile payments in the four month period from September to December 2013, up by 35 percent. Mobile transaction volume in retail has also risen by a third, up to 23 percent.
For all verticals except retail, smartphone payments outweighed tablet payments in volume. Tablets accounted for 15.9 percent and smartphones for 7.1 percent of transactions in retail.
Interestingly, of the five verticals, travel is the only one to show PCs dominating over tablets in terms of transaction value, despite having the highest share of mobile payments in volume. This suggests that users are more comfortable making pricier airfare purchases on larger-screen devices, according to the report.
The retail industry stands out in that it recorded a higher transaction volume for tablets than for smartphones (and the highest share of tablet transaction volume in any other vertical) and it recorded the largest average transaction value for tablets comparative to smartphones and PCs in its vertical. This suggests that the retail industry leads the way in improving the tablet user experience for e-commerce, where a key part of the picture is streamlining the payment process to encourage more conversions.
The trend of high transaction values among tablet purchases could indicate a link between spontaneity and low value purchases, versus enjoyable browsing experience and higher value purchases that require longer time for consideration and decision-making. The tablet, with its combination of a bigger screen, touch interface and portability may account for a better browsing experience and longer shopping sessions. It may also lead to it being used more during leisure time, when people are making purchases they care about more, as opposed to being used at work or during commuting, when smartphones and PCs may be used for spontaneous, lower value purchases.
"Ease of payment is vital for merchants to keep up with the evolution of mobile devices and consumer behavior. Businesses are focusing on enhancing their payment interface over mobile channels to make it responsive, simple and clear for users," explained Roelant Prins, chief commerce officer, Adyen. "That's why having access to data on transaction volume and value is highly useful for merchants looking to optimize the user experience across mobile channels. It's fascinating to look at a trend like tablets emerging as the leading device for more expensive purchases, and using this knowledge strategically to increase conversion rates."
Apple remains the most popular platform for mobile payments. The iPad won the highest share of 2014 holiday shopping transactions, taking 41 percent of mobile transactions over the September to December period, and in second place was the iPhone, at 31.6 percent. Android smartphones proved more popular than Android tablets, capturing 20 percent of mobile transactions versus 6.6 percent. Windows mobile devices have made up a steady 0.6 percent of mobile transactions since June 2013. BlackBerry hardly figured in the last four months, taking just 0.2 percent, down from 0.3 percent in the previous four months.
Looking at smartphones as a category, Android looks to be steadily closing the gap on the iPhone's lead. In April 2013, iPhone had a 68.5 percent share of mobile transactions, compared with 30.7 percent on Android. By August it was 62.5 percent to 35.9 percent, and in December 2013, iPhone share stood at 60 percent to Android's 38.6 percent. This reflects the increasing number of Android devices available, and in particular the growing popularity of Samsung, which shipped more than 300 million devices in 2013 and whose sales accounted for one in three smartphones sold that year.
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