Global ATM installations are set to fall for the time as the mega Chinese market switches away from cash to digital payments.
In 2017, as the ATM industry celebrated its 50th year, the number of machines installed worldwide peaked at 3.28 million with a fall in installations predicted over the next few years, according to data from RBR research.
While ATM markets in the majority of countries continue to show room for growth, the global figure is skewed by the China, home to almost a quarter of the world’s cash machiness.
After years of explosive growth, the ATM sector in the country went abruptly into reverse in 2017, says RBR, with deployers withdrawing 20,000 ATMs.
The displacement coincides with the rapid rise in mobile payment systems from China's Big Tech cgiants Alibaba and Tencent. In the third quarter of 2017, China's mobile payment market grew 28% from a year ago to $4.7 trillion, with Alipay and the Wechat Pay app dominating, commanding a combined 93% market share.
Similar, though less dramatic drops in ATM numbers are also expected to take place in several European countries, where bank card payments and bank branch closures explain the decline.