What is a Mobile Wallet? Part 3 - Who Are Mobile Wallets For? on 1/6/2015

What is a Mobile Wallet? Part 3 - Who Are Mobile Wallets For?

January 6, 2015

In the last two posts of this series “What is a Mobile Wallet” we covered both the consumer and merchant technology that are required for a mobile wallet ecosystem to exist. In this part we will cover the demographics of mobile wallet users.

As in most questions of this nature, there are really multiple questions to ask. They include:

  • What are the demographics of mobile payment apps in general?
  • What are the demographics of my credit union today?
  • What are the demographics of the credit union I want tomorrow?
  • What are the demographics of smart phone technology today?
  • What are the demographics of my smart phone users today?

To begin, let’s look at the first question. General demographics. At a recent CU Wallet advisory board meeting, the guy behind the Starbucks app shared some data. The current stats include 70 million Starbucks app downloads.

Most surprisingly, the demographic break down is pretty much spread across all age groups and generations (that drink coffee). I don’t think many 4 year olds have the app – although I know mine would if I would let them drink coffee or use my iPhone. In addition, usage is growing FAST. There are 10 million active users and 4 million payments per week or about 10% of all payments at Starbucks. This up from 3 million in mid-2014…Click here for the data.

The most surprising thing the Starbucks guy mentioned was that there is NOT one group that dominates the usage or downloads. What conclusions should you make based on that? Well, I would go with – your whole membership is going to have interest in a mobile wallet.

What seems to be stopping usage more than anything is privacy concerns. Credit Unions are much less likely to confront this issue as they are much more trusted party and credit unions already know all of the financial data about the member. Ultimately, it is our opinion that adoption is probably more likely to be based on privacy concerns vs. age groups.

The second aspect of this is the different types of smart phones. Essentially there are three relevant different types of smart phones. Apple (iOS based), Android, and Windows based smart phones. Only about 45% of smart phones are Apple based. Hence, unless you believe that only your iPhone users will want a mobile wallet – you probably need to focus on a strategy that includes your whole membership.

So back to “Who are mobile wallets for?” In our opinion, mobile wallets will be for all of your members across all age groups and generations. Second, mobile wallets need to support multiple smart phone platforms. Third, adoption is happening already and will continue to accelerate over the coming weeks and months. Stayed tuned – in the next post we will cover “What does the average mobile wallet user look like?”

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