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Shoppers Favor Retailers That Accept Mobile Wallets—And Punish Those That Don’t
March 12, 2015

By John Stewart

While big-time companies like Apple Inc., Google Inc., and Samsung Electronics Co. prepare to battle it out for control of mobile payments, evidence is emerging that consumers may be strongly inclined to reward merchants that accept mobile wallets and punish those that don’t.

Some 30% of consumers are using a mobile wallet for payment, according to a January survey conducted by Interactions Consumer Experience Marketing Inc. The wallets cited range from major third-party apps like Apple Pay to online wallets like Visa Checkout to proprietary services offered by the retailers.

Of the wallet users, 64% said they prefer to shop where retailers accept at least one wallet option. And 61% of them said they would spend more if they could use a wallet.

More ominously, 36% of the wallet users told the surveyors they have walked out of a store because no wallet was accepted, and 59% said they have not gone back.

The survey also measured usage patterns. Of wallet users, almost 62.5% pay with the apps at least once a week, and 19% said they use a wallet at least once a day. As might be expected, usage is heaviest among younger consumers. Fifty-eight percent of those age 18 to 34 said they have used a mobile wallet. For the 35-to-54 age group, the proportion is 36%, while for those age 54 to 64, usage drops to 6%. The number-one merchant type for wallet usage is online stores, followed by mass merchandisers, coffee shops, restaurants, pharmacies, and gas stations.

The consumer data comes as not only major technology players, but also banks and card networks are introducing—or, in some cases, retooling—mobile wallets. Merchants, too, are launching their own versions, following on the remarkable success enjoyed by the Starbucks Coffee Co. chain, whose wallet claims more than 12 milliion users.

San Diego-based Interactions, which specializes in in-store events and other marketing tactics for retailers, says its survey covered a “representative” sample of U.S. shoppers, including “all geographies, income levels, and ethnicities.”

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