Smartwatches face challenges as payment devices

Smartwatches face challenges as payment devices

Just one-in-three consumers would be interested in using a smartwatch for payments, with fitness tracking, online ID and travel ticketing viewed as more attractive features, according to a survey of 5000 people across five countries by GfK.

The poll of smartphone users in China, Germany, South Korea, the UK and the US indicates that people in these countries see potential in using smartwatches to 'carry' tickets for passenger transport or as security keys to their computers and online accounts. The ability to transmit healthcare data via a smartwatch is also of particular interest to the majority of people.

However, only 35% of respondents across the five countries surveyed are interested in tapping their watch at the checkout to pay for goods and services. The real potential for this is in China, GfK found, where interest increases to 54% of those surveyed, compared with 40% in the US and only 28% in South Korea and 27% in the UK. In Germany, just 20% of those asked say they would use a smartwatch to make payments.

GfK's findings also show that smartwatches have clear potential as travel tickets. Just less than half those surveyed across all five countries say they would be happy to use a smartwatch for this purpose. The Chinese (63%), Koreans (54%) and US citizens (41%) were the most interested. European consumers were again more reticent with only 32% of respondents in the UK and 31% in Germany expressing interest in a transit application.

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