The worldwide value of mobile payment transactions is set to jump 62%, from $105.9 billion in 2011 to $171.5 billion this year, according to Gartner.
In addition, the number of mobile payment users will reach 212.2 million in 2012, up from 160.5 million last year, predicts the research house. With an average annual growth rate of 42% over five years, Sandy Shen, research director, Gartner, says that the market should be worth $617 billion with 448 million users by 2016.
The mobile payments market will continue to be fragmented over the next two years, with a clear divide between the developing and developed worlds, meaning technology providers will have to cater their offerings to local markets using different access technologies, business models and partners, and under different regulatory conditions.
Gartner predicts that Eastern Europe will see the highest user growth between 2011 and 2016, albeit from a smaller user base. Asia Pacific tops all regions in the number of users, followed by Africa and between them the two regions will account for more than 60% of the global mobile payments volume in 2016. North America is the third-largest region by value in 2016 and is twice the value of Western Europe.
SMS remains the dominant access technology in developing markets because of the constraints of mobile devices. In contrast Web/WAP is the preferred access technology in North America and Western Europe where mobile Internet is commonly available.
Gartner expects Web/WAP access to account for about 88% of total transactions in North America and about 80% in Western Europe by 2016. However, contactless transactions will remain relatively low until 2016, predicts the company.
"NFC payment involves a change in user behavior and requires collaboration among stakeholders that includes banks, mobile carriers, card networks and merchants. It takes time for both to happen, so we don't expect NFC payments to come into the mass market before 2015. In the meantime, ticketing, rather than retail payment, will drive NFC transactions," says Shen.