Gartner says that 2012 mobile payment transaction values will increase 61.9% over 2011 and surpass US$ 171.5 billion.

Increase in Payments, Users

According to Gartner, the number of mobile users taking advantage of mobile payment options will reach 212.2 million this year, compared with 160.5 million in 2011. Sandy Shen, research director at Gartner, explains:

We expect global mobile transaction volume and value to average 42% annual growth between 2011 and 2016, and we are forecasting a market worth $617 billion with 448 million users by 2016."

Gartner's report says that technology providers will need to cater their solutions to the local markets, which will use different access technologies and work under different regulatory conditions. Whereas SMS is the dominant access technology in developing markets, North American and Western European markets lean toward Web/WAP. "Gartner expects Web/WAP access to account for about 88% of total transactions in North America and about 80% in Western Europe by 2016," the report says.

Gartner doesn't expect Near Field Communication (NFC) transactions to start picking up until 2016. A year ago, Google launched the Google Wallet site and announced its NFC services. In December we posted a follow-up article that looked at the unencrypted data vulnerabilities Google needed to address.

Learning Opportunities

Purchasing Power

Gartner says that merchandise purchases, including online and in-store shopping, will drive North America and Western Europe transactions, explaining:

Major e-tailers such as Amazon and eBay have developed strong mobile storefronts and have seen significant growth from the mobile channel. For in-store purchases, Starbucks' Card Mobile app is now being rolled out nationwide in the U.S., following a successful pilot program, and Gartner expects a large number of merchants to introduce their own mobile payment services, trying to emulate Starbucks' success."

In developing markets, money transfers will drive transaction volume. In African and South Asian markets, bus and railway tickets will be purchased with mobile transactions. In fact, Africa is expected to top all regions in transaction value through the forecast period as a result of money transfer purchases. Asia/Pacific will top all regions in the number of users, but Eastern Europe should see the highest user growth.