For months now we’ve been reading very optimistic reports on the future of mobile payments and m-commerce, but one outfit is apparently looking beyond the hype. Research firm eMarketer has slashed its growth estimate for proximity mobile payments in half.
Last October eMarketer forecasted that mobile payments would hit $2.13 billion this year, but in its latest note it puts the figure at $1 billion. Although the number of mobile transactions has more than tripled over the past two years, growth is apparently slowing down, plagued by a multitude of issues.
The firm pointed out that delays and adoption issues are hampering growth. The fact that there are already several competing platforms isn’t helping, either. However, it is still looking good in the long run. By 2016 mobile transactions should hit 2016, roughly a year behind the previous eMarketer schedule. Just a year later, in 2017, mobile payments should hit $58 billion.
Aside from the usual hardware teething problems, mobile payment outfits need to address security concerns and streamline the process itself. At the moment, the user experience still involves too much friction, according to PayPal CTO James Barrese. The ultimate goal is to come up with a one-touch payment scheme that would be a lot simpler and quicker than the good old card swipe. That probably won’t come about soon, and maintaining a level of security deemed acceptable by consumers might be very challenging.
In addition, the fact that there are several players vying for their slice of the pie, using their own systems and infrastructure, means that there is plenty of room for consolidation, reckons Venture Beat. However, big players aren’t very open to consolidation, or even cooperation, hence it is very unlikely that a single platform can break out of the pack and transform itself into an industry standard.