We all know that mobile commerce is going to be big, but now KPMG have put a figure on just how substantial that growth will be. In a new report, they've predicted that mobile commerce will grow by 97 per cent per year over the next three years, with revenue from mobile commerce expected to hit _µ_ö591 billion by 2015. This is expected to be boosted by NFC-enabled devices, which arguably have yet to prove themselves as a viable mobile payment solution.
While the growth of NFC devices on the market can't be argued with - 30 million units being sold worldwide in 2011 - whether this will account for the growth in mobile commerce remains to be seen. As fancy as it may sound, NFC is still quite a clunky payment solution, far from perfect and yet to prove itself 'out in the wild' with actual uptake by consumers.
The future for NFC?
There is no doubt that mobile is going to be huge, but I think it's risky to look to NFC as responsible for fuelling this growth, or even highlighting this as the area of focus for brands. There are already some pretty impressive offerings on the market that offer a flexible mobile payment solution. PayPal has recently announced their mobile payments offering for small businesses, under the name 'PayPal Here'. The solution allows merchants to accept payments via swiping cards, entering information into an app or even scanning cards and cheques via a mobile app. This kind of technology works because it takes what's already on the market and finds a tech solution to accommodate it, as opposed to NFC which requires significant investment by the retailer or merchant to facilitate payments. The customer doesn't even need a wallet to complete a transaction.
Contactless payment is clearly going to see mobile commerce rapidly increase, but what brands need to understand when looking at mobile commerce solutions is whether this is simply the mobile as an alternative to the wallet, or whether growth is in fact going to come from developing a solution that sees mobile commerce as native mobile transactions themselves. This is where mobile commerce is currently at a crossroads, and figures such as 97 per cent growth need context around where exactly this growth is going to come from and how mobile commerce will develop overall.