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Every week, MEF Minute publishes highlights of all the latest industry reports. It’s all here: apps, VR, wearables, data, payments and more.

Here’s a consolidated round up of all the key data from the month by sector.  Handy for your powerpoint deck…

Mobile commerce and payments

  • Spending on contactless cards in the UK hit £7.75 billion in 2015 – Tap and go payment is really taking off in the UK, according to new figures from the UK Cards Association. It says contactless spending in 2015 reached £7.75 billion, which was more than double the preceding seven years combined.
  • 1.61bn people will make person-to-person mobile money transfers by 2019 – Telco analyst Ovum says the global mobile P2P user base will increase from 192.66 million users in 2014 to 1.61 billion in three years time. This rise will increase transaction value from $15.22bn in 2014 to $270.93bn in 2019, with international remittances being the bigger value generator.
  • GSMA: 411m people have a mobile money account – More than 1bn mobile payment transactions were processed in December 2015, says trade body GSMA. Its fifth annual ‘State of the Industry Report on Mobile Money’ also says there are 271 services in 93 countries.
  • Venmo handles $1 billion in a single month – US P2P payments app Venmo says its users sent and received $1 billion during January. That’s more than 2.5 times the payments volume the company handled in Jan 2015. For the full year 2015, it processed roughly $7.5 billion, up 213 per cent.
  • 3bn mobile loyalty cards to go mobile by 2020 – A new study from Juniper Research reveals that more than three billion loyalty cards will either become mobile-only or be integrated into mobile apps within four years. In 2015, the total stood at 1.4 billion.
  • UK m-payment scheme Paym now has  3.25m registered users – Britain’s ‘pay a mobile contact’ service Paym has nearly doubled its transaction volumes over the past six months. It now has 3.25 million mobile phone numbers, and says it has the potential to connect nine out of ten current accounts in the UK.
  • Americans to make $23bn of in-store mobile payments this year – The combined efforts of PayPal, Android Pay, Apple Pay and Starbucks will drive in-store mobile payments in the US up 54 per cent his year. In total, $23 billion will be transacted at physical retail from mobile wallets, says Packaged Facts’ new report Mobile Payments in the U.S.
  • European mobile wallet revenue to pass 1 billion euros in five years – The combined impact of Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Android Pay and Google Wallet will grow the European mobile payments market by 50 per cent a year, says Smart Insights.
  • mPOS shipments expected to reach 245.21 million units by 2022 – The market for mobile POS card readers continues to boom – it will grow 20x between 2014 and 2022, says a new report.Transparency Market Research forecasts mPOS shipments will grow from 11.87 million units in 2014 to 245.21 million units by 2022. That’s a CAGR of 47 per cent during the forecast period.
  • Visa Europe: “50 per cent of our transactions will be mobile by 2020” – Card network Visa expects that, by 2020, one in five consumers will make a mobile payment every day, and that half of all Visa transactions will come from a phone.
  • Mobile payments will generate $620bn this year – The systems launched by Apple and Samsung will grow the mobile payment market by 37 per cent this year, says TrendForce. Its new report says the sector generated $450 billion in 2015, and will gross $620 billion this year. That’s up 37.8 percent.

Social media and messaging

  • Encrypted IM service Telegram powers to 100m users – Russia’s security-first messaging app Telegram is now sending 15 billion messages a day. It has surpassed 100 million users. All messaging traffic on Telegram is encrypted end-to-end and users have the ability to set messages to delete after being viewed.
  • Instagram now has 200,000 advertisers – A year ago, Instagram didn’t have any advertisers. Now it has 200,000 after owner Facebook decided to open up the image sharing site to brands. Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said 98 of Facebook’s top 100 advertisers also ran ads on Instagram.
  • Facebook aims to have 5bn users by 2030 – Mark Zuckerberg has told reporters that Facebook will team up with governments and other partners to connect 5 billion people.
  • 934m people check their Facebook mobile apps every day – In the last quarter, 1.04 billion consumers checked their Facebook accounts on a typical day – and 934 million of them did so via a mobile app. That’s 25 per cent more than a year ago. Overall, the firm’s monthly active users are now at 1.59 billion, of which 1.44 billion are mobile.

Devices & wearables

  • OPPO sold 50m smartphones in 2015 – Chinese phone maker Oppo has broken into the world’s top ten after posting year-on-year growth of 67 per cent last year.The company sold 50m smartphones, enough to move it into the top ten smartphone brands worldwide, according to researcher TrendForce.
  • Apple’s iPhone sales have flatlined at 75m a year – For the first time ever, Apple has failed to increase its iPhone shipments. Its most recent financials show device sales stalled at 75m for the year. In spite of this, Apple still posted record quarterly revenue of $75.9 billion and record quarterly net income of $18.4 billion.
  • Windows Phone sales slip to 4.5m a quarter – Microsoft’s latest financials reveal that it sold 4.5 million Lumia phones during the fourth quarter. That’s down 57 percent on the 10.5 million sold a year ago.
  • Sales of wearables set for 18.4 per cent rise – Vendors will sell 274.59 million smartwatches, fitness bands and other wearable devices this year, says Gartner. The sales will generate $28.7 billion. This represents an 18 per cent jump on 2015, when just over 232 million units were sold, By 2017, sales should grow to 322.7 million units.
  • Apple sells two thirds of all smartwatches – New numbers from Canalys reveal Apple as the major force in smartwatches – though Fitbit leads the wearable sector as a whole. Canalys says Apple shipped five million devices in the fourth quarter and 12 million units over the year. Samsung was second in smartwatches, with Pebble third and Huawei fourth.
  •  5m people own a Google Cardboard VR headset – While the early adopters wait for Oculus Rift and Vive, Google’s ultra-cheap Cardboard VR headset has gathered 5m users. Google just revealed on its blog that its 5m Cardboard users launched 10 million ‘immersive app experiences’ in Q4 of 2015, and that there are 1,000+ Cardboard apps on Google Play.


  • China’s mobile gaming industry grossed $7.8 billion in 2015 – A new report by DataEye and Niko Partners says China’s mobile games industry is as big as the US’s, and grew by around 75 per cent last year. It was worth $4.4 billion in 2014. Moreover, mobile is also increasing its share of the overall digital games market in China. It represented 24 per cent of revenues in 2014 and 36 per cent last year.
  • Gamers who make an in-app purchase in one game 6x more likely to pay in another -Publishers should focus hard on their paying customers, says analytics company Soomla. Its new report says users that pay for in-app items are six times more likely to buy again than any random player.
  • PC gaming still out grossing mobile in $61m overall market – The digital gaming market grew eight percent in 2015, with PC bringing in most of the revenue. A new study by research firm Superdata says the market generated $61m in 2015. The top ten PC games made more money than the top ten mobile games, with $6.3 billion earned on PC compared to $6.1 billion on mobile.


  • Apple Music 11 million paying subscribers; Spotify is closing in on 30m – The senior VPs behind Apple Music, Craig Federighi and Eddy Cue, have confirmed that the streaming service has now passed 11m registered users. Apple Music was launched in June and chalked up its first 10m subscribers a month ago. Of course, this is way behind Spotify, which is closing in on 30m paying users and 75m in total. But it’s ahead of Deezer, with 6m.


  • Global mobile data traffic has grown 400m times in 15 years – In 2001 there was barely any such thing as mobile data. Now, traffic is at 3.7 exabytes a month. Cisco’s Visual Networking Index reveals mobile data traffic grew 74 per cent in 2015, and could hit 30.6 exabytes a month by 2020.
  • India will have 371m mobile internet users by June – The tumbling cost of mobile data is set to increase India’s mobile internet population by nearly 70m in six months.A new report by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) says the connected base will hit 371 million by the end of June this year compared with 306 million at the end of 2015.
  •  The app economy could be worth $101bn in four years – There was barely any such thing as an app ecosystem before 2008. Now, it’s on its way to being a $100 billion industry. A new report by App Annie argues that the total app economy – comprising all revenues and wages relating to apps, could double in size to $101 billion by 2020.
  •  Four in ten smartphone owners user voice recognition – Siri and Google Now are starting to catch on with mobile users, according to Parks Associates’ 360 View: Mobility and the App Economy report. It says 38 per cent of smartphone owners are now using voice recognition apps, and among the 18-24 age group it’s 48 per cent. iPhone users skew even higher, with 52 per cent now using Siri.

Security and identity

  • GSMA’s ‘sign in with mobile’ service now available to 2bn – Mobile Connect is the operators’ project to encourage consumers to use their mobiles to log in for third party services. Now, it can reach 2bn people. The GSMA says 34 network operators in 21 countries have launched, “with plans for additional launches and trials to follow in 2016 and beyond”.
  • Malware infected 370m mobile users’ devices in 2015 – Chinese security software provider Qihoo 360 says 370 million mobile phone users receiving malicious programs in 2015 – and that the number is rising. Its new study revealed 8,973 reports from users who said that they were defrauded while using smartphones, and paid out 50.04 million yuan as a result.