Quick Response codes are one of the many payment options to flourish as consumers embrace digital and contactless payments in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, says a report from Blackhawk Network Inc.
Of the 13,000 respondents surveyed across nine countries representing nearly half of the world’s card-payment volume, 18% say they used a QR code or barcode for payment for the first time during the pandemic, and 40% say they are using them more frequently. The technology is also catching the attention of consumers who do not use the technology, with 30% of non-users saying they are interested in using QR codes or barcodes for payment.
Digital gift cards are another payment option to receive a lift, with nearly 50% of respondents saying they have used them at online-only retailers in the last year. The payment option is especially popular in Australia, where more than half of digital gift card users use them at grocery stores. Overall, 34% of respondents say they purchased a digital or physical gift card for themselves in the last year, and 46% say they are interested in using digital gift cards to make online purchases. Blackhawk made e-gift cards a part of its product offering earlier this year by enabling merchants to sell them in-store.
Digital wallets have also proven popular with consumers during the pandemic, with 85% saying acceptance of the apps by merchants has made shopping easier. E-commerce merchants remain the preferred segment to use the payment technology among 41% of respondents, followed by grocery stores (37%) and mass merchandisers (26%).
In general, consumers have readily embraced digital payment options since the pandemic hit, with 69% of respondents saying they shop more frequently at merchants that accept digital payments and 54% saying they spend more when they have the option to pay digitally. In addition, 63% say they are more likely to shop at a retailer if they accept the digital payments they use, and 73% say they want to be able to pay the same way they pay online and in-store.
Despite consumers’ preference for digital wallets, hurdles to widespread adoption remain, the report says. Difficulty using the technology is the biggest issue, with 50% of respondents saying that lack of mainstream acceptance creates friction when it comes to using the technology. In addition, 30% say they can’t always use the same digital wallet at the same retailer in-store and online, and 20% say they don’t feel as comfortable using digital wallets as they do traditional payment methods. Too many digital-wallet options is another speed bump to broader consumer adoption, according to 27% of respondents.