Gartner: 50 percent of consumers will use smartphones, wearables for mobile payments by 2018

If accurate, it’s good news for Apple Pay, the iPhone, and the Apple Watch: Gartner Inc., is predicting that fifty percent of all customers in mature markets will use smartphones or wearable devices for mobile payments by 2018.

Mobile payments are gaining acceptance among consumers in North America, Japan and some countries in Western Europe, says the research group. Half of consumers in mature markets expected to be using smartphones or wearables for mobile payments by 2018. 

"Innovation in apps, mobile devices and mobile services are impacting traditional business models, particularly in the way people use personal technology for productivity and pleasure," says Amanda Sabia, principal research analyst at Gartner. "Product managers must understand who their customers are for these new devices and services, and how the products are being used. Knowing your customer is imperative in order to capture a fair share of spending opportunities in this dynamic marketplace.”

When it comes to mobile payments, there are three types of mobile payments or mobile wallets available now: smartphone or wearables-based payments, branded mobile wallets from banks or credit card providers, and branded mobile wallets from retailers such as Starbucks.

However, mobile payments using Near Field Communication (NFC) technology (Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay) will be limited in the short to midterm due to a lack of partnerships between retailers and financial organizations, as well as consumers seeing little value in such payments, according to the research group.

"Any mobile payment wallets that are tied to the device will have limited adoption and only if the device has a huge installed base," says Annette Jump, research director at Gartner. "Instead, cloud-based solutions will have a better chance to succeed as they can reach a wider audience and can support many use cases beyond face-to-face or in-store options. Also, mobile payment and mobile wallet adoption requires a country-by-country rollout plan with an enabled payment infrastructure and agreement with major banks and retailers."