The Great Digital Wallet Gap: Awareness & Usage

by Net Future Institute on February 7, 2013

The distance between creating mobile wallet technology and people using digital wallets looks like one big information gap.

That is, most people are not aware of digital wallets and even of those who are have not used them.

While PayPal leads the pack at 72 percent awareness, fewer than half (48%) have used it, based on a new comScore study.

For other digital wallets, the gap is even larger. While 41 percent are aware of Google Wallet, only 8 percent have used it, and MasterCard’s PayPass Wallet has 13 percent awareness but only 3 percent usage, according to the comScore research.

This is somewhat common in the current state of mobile commerce. Various entities create innovative new ways to do things that challenge traditional methods. The next stages can be more challenging, with getting the word out and then adoption replacing current behavior.

For example, even though scanning product barcodes in stores can create on-the-spot price-matching discounts, most consumers don’t yet do it. Many are simply not aware that it is possible it while others still check prices online or in publications before heading to the store.

The concept of digital wallets can be even more daunting. Even after reviewing the websites of specific digital wallets, fewer than half (45%) of consumers demonstrated a level of understanding, according to the comScore study.

While the knowledge gap will probably be narrowed by advertising over time, it is more likely that peer-to-peer sharing will drive the process.

When one person explains and shows another exactly how do download and use a mobile wallet, a quick lesson can go a long way.

After awareness, the biggest hurdle is adoption, which challenges current behaviors.

Knowing about doing something differently and actually doing something differently can present a wide gap.

What do you think will drive mobile wallets? Already using one?

 Chuck Martin is editor of mCommerce Daily at MediaPost and writes the daily MobileShopTalk. He is author of “The Third Screen,” “The Smartphone Handbook,” and the soon-to-be-published “Mobile Influence.” He is CEO of Mobile Future Institute and a frequent mobile keynote speaker around the globe.


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