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Back-to-school buys may boost mobile payment market

Aug 24, 2013 Dave King

Although it has been labeled as the next big thing in payment technology, the mobile transaction market has failed to catch on with both consumers and retailers. Certainly there is still massive potential for the mobile payment sector, but a lack of uniformity has been a determent to its adoption.

However, there is reason to believe that the back-to-school buying frenzy set to take place this year could help push mobile purchasing into the mainstream. Price Grabber recently released a survey of more than 1,900 American online shoppers that found 46 percent plan to use smartphones to buy items in 2013. Further, 42 percent of respondents indicated that they would use mobile platforms specifically to buy back-to-school products.

That's a sizable portion but there may be an opportunity for app developers and mobile payment vendors to increase sales during the run up to the coming school year. The source noted that 67 percent of consumers will use smartphones or tablets to check prices online before making a school-related transaction.

Chance to shine
If a mobile payment company can find a way to simplify and create an easy to navigate user interface for mobile transactions, they could capture a large portion of the market. In a recent eMarketer report, the research company suggested that mobile payments will only increase if purchase platforms and apps become more convenient for consumers to use.

By rolling out easy to use services for the coming back-to-school rush, mobile transaction enterprises could set themselves up for continued success. With the holiday season several months away, dorm room purchases and other must-have items for students could prove to be the catalyst some vendors need to become major players in the market.

Too many options
However, eMarketer suggested that mobile pay firms can only help themselves if they help each other. One of the biggest barriers to widespread adoption of the technology is the fact that there is no major mobile payment service that has been rapidly adopted across a variety of industries.

At the moment, there appears to be too many mobile payment options available, which means very few are viable for large-scale retailers and enterprises to invest in because a small amount of targeted consumers are using each platform.

Even so, in the United States, the value of mobile payments is expected to exceed $1 billion this year, according to eMarketer. By 2017, the source noted that it predicts more than $58 billion in smartphone and tablet buys will be conducted annually.