The USA is a highly connected market, where 9 out of 10 U.S. consumers own a tablet, smartphone or a cell phone to make 216 million mobile device owners. According to a study from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), more than one-third (37 percent) of mobile device owners are engaging in some form of mobile commerce, either shopping and/or purchasing online or in-store, using and/or redeeming coupons or gift cards, or searching for coupons.
While most online purchases are completed without mobile devices, those engaging in mobile commerce average more than one-third (35 percent) of all online transactions. The categories most often browsed on mobile devices are consumer electronics and clothing/footwear, while music and books are the categories most often purchased.
Verifone is a good example of the growth of mobile commerce in the USA, having seen significant uptake of its mobile payments services by merchants with expectations for its annual run rate to exceed $10 billion. The $10 billion refers to all the payments expected to go through the PAYware Connect gateway in a 12-month period. PAYware Connect is a cloud-based payments service that supports in-the-aisle checkout via smartphone and tablet-based payments, mobile card acceptance devices for smaller merchants as well as offerings that integrate with larger POS systems.
According to Verifone, more and more retailers are opting for the multichannel payment capabilities that PAYware Connect enables. In addition, consumers are adopting NFC wallets for their smartphones and retailers are beginning to integrate mobile POS with other features such as retailing, inventory location and other capabilities using tablets.
Fuelling mobile commerce – payments accepted on iphones and tablets
Square, a start up from San Francisco which includes Sir Richard Branson among its investors, has also become a player in the mobile commerce revolution. Following a launch in 2010, the company said in November 2011 that it shipped over 800,000 card readers to merchants and is currently processing over $2 billion in payments annually. The company said it was processing $11 million in payments per day via mobile. The company offers an attachment for smartphones and tablets that enables smaller merchants to process credit card transactions in addition to the more advanced iPad Register system, which offers analytics, inventory monitoring, loyalty programs and wallet-less payment capabilities
PayPal, like VeriFone, also provides a cloud-based service offering a variety of mobile-enabled ways to process transactions; the company expects to process $7 billion in mobile payments in 2012.
PayPal has several digital wallet initiatives aimed at storing information in the cloud and making it easier for merchants to sell and consumers to buy products on a variety of different devices. In November 2011, PayPal said that mobile payment volume on Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, sales grew 516% year-over-year, and a significant proportion of those sales came from consumers making purchases from their tablets at home.