Is consumer appetite for apps on the wane? Has contactless spending finally gone mainstream? How much is the UK market for wearables worth?

You’ll find the answers to these and many more mobile data related questions in this week’s MEF market stats round up…

Mobile users installed 156 billion apps in 2015

App downloads are still on the up says new research from IDC. The analyst says the total will rise from 156 billion last year to 210 billion in 2020.

Revenues will also rise. The app market generated $34.2 billion in direct (non-advertising) revenue last year and is on target for $57 billion by the end of the decade.

Of course, smartphone saturation is approaching so IDC expects annual install growth to fall into the single digits over the second half of the forecast.

Apple’s App Store captured nearly 58 per cent of app revenue in 2015, up 36 per cent year over year. This was in spite of the fact that its share of installs fell eight per cent to 15 per cent.

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One in five in-person Visa Europe card payments are now contactless

Europeans made three billion ‘tap to pay’ payments in the last 12 months, according to new research from Visa Europe. The numbers mean that 20 per cent of all Visa transactions made in shops are now contactless. It was under two per cent in 2013.

The study reveals the growing momentum around tap to pay after years of slow progress. European consumers used their cards 360 million times in April, alone – that’s nearly 140 transactions per second and a 150 per cent increase from the 143 million transactions in April 2015. The average value rose 12 per cent to €13.83.

And it seems like a virtuous cycle as merchants also embrace the tech. Visa says there are 165 million Visa contactless cards in circulation and 3.2 million POS terminals now in active in Europe.

Consumers in the Poland, Spain and the UK use contactless the most. British contactless adoption grew by 300 per cent from 51 million transactions in April 2015 to 153 million in April 2016.

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Mobile email surges for brand-to-consumer comms

The rise of apps and social media has not stopped the march of mobile email – in fact, email comprised 23 per cent of ‘journey interactions’ last year, up 270 per cent year-over-year.

Kitewheel’s “State of the Consumer Journey 2016 Report” looked at over one billion brand/customer interactions and found that email remains a key comms tool for marketers.

Though the bulk of interaction volume occurs on social media (48 per cent), social’s overall share of interactions declined 23 per cent year-over-year. Apps were the fastest growing channel, with interactions increasing tenfold from 2014 to 2015.

Retailers are the busiest brands, orchestrating 50 per cent of journey interactions tracked in 2015. The travel and healthcare sectors contributed at 15 per cent and 12 per cent respectively.

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UK wearable market will surpass £1 billion this year

Brits will buy five million wearables in 2015 to push the market into seven figures for the first time.

CCS Insight estimates that by the end of 2016 there will be about 10 million wearable devices in use in the UK – and the total will triple to almost 33 million units by 2020.

Fitness trackers continue to dominate the category, with 1.7 million expected to be sold this year. Value-wise, ‘smartphone companions’ are top. These items, including the Apple Watch, will be worth almost £300 million in 2016. And shipments will grow from 1.5 million in 2016 to 3.6 million in 2020.

George Jijiashvili, analyst for wearables at CCS Insight, said the market might be growing but it is still far from established. “The real challenge now lies in making sure people who have a wearable device keep on using it rather than abandoning it after a few months,” he said.

CCS Insight also expects around 800,000 virtual reality headsets will be sold this year in the UK, and that the sector will account for over a quarter of the UK wearables market by value in 2020.

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Cities could waste $341 billion on ill-considered IoT projects

Stakeholders must agree on a common set of IoT standards to avoid wasting hundreds of millions of dollars, says Machina Research.

It estimates city authorities could spend $1.12 trillion to implement smart city deployments by 2025. But using
standardised solutions would bring the cost down to $781 billion – a saving of $341 billion.

Machina cites interoperability, freedom from vendor lock-in, and reduced systems integration as the key areas where costs could be reduced.

The introduction of standards-based IoT solutions would also create simpler processes for building new applications and allow easier replication of schemes.

“The existing ‘internet of silos’ approach to IoT deployment is delaying the widespread adoption of IoT solutions, including smart cities,” said Jeremy Green, lead author of the report. “Our research demonstrates that open standards can help to solve both challenges, ensuring money is invested more efficiently, and dramatically accelerating IoT adoption and growth.”

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Seven in ten Brits now use mobile banking services

The mobilisation of banking in the UK is almost complete, with the vast majority if account holders accessing services by smartphone.

Juniper Research says 70 per cent do mobile banking and that 98 per cent are “very” or “quite” happy with the service they are receiving. However, banks need to be vigilant since a third (31 per cent) of customers would consider moving their account to another bank if they had a bad experience.

While digital banking is now mainstream a sizeable number of consumers still prefer face to face transactions, said the ‘Worldwide Digital Banking: Mobile, Online & Wearable 2015-2020’ report.

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