The ‘Surprising’ Forecast for Mobile Payments & NFC

by Chuck Martin on June 29, 2013

By Chuck Martin

Whenever projections are made, it often becomes news when the projections are either exceeded or fall short.

This phenomenon is often magnified around mobile commerce, it being both so relatively new and running at such a high velocity of development globally.

The latest NFC projections from Gartner are a good example. The big news, of course, is that the research firm now sees the growth of NFC payments as smaller than initially thought.

Gartner notes the lower-than-expected adoption. Part of this, of course, is due to the lack of NFC-enabled phones.

This brings to mind one of my favorite expressions commonly seen in the general news media when new economic numbers are announced: “experts were surprised.” The phrase begs the question of how could they be experts?

It’s not likely that many experts were surprised by the slower-than-forecast adoption of NFC payments, since the field is really just beginning.

The other news from Gartner relates to the lower forecast for mobile payment transactions overall. Rather than being a 42% growth over five years it predicted a year ago, the number has been revised to 35% growth.

Said another way, compared to what was forecast year ago, today’s prediction is lower.

However, this doesn’t mean mobile payments are shrinking. On the contrary, mobile payments last year were $163 billion; this year $235 billion, according to the research firm.

The new forecast for global mobile transactions four years from now is $721 billion.

Even if off by $100 billion either way, this will be a very big number.

And some experts, no doubt, will be surprised.

Chuck Martin is Editor of the mCommerce Daily at MediaPost and writes the daily MobileShopTalk column. He is the author of “Mobile Influence,” “The Third Screen,” and “The Smartphone Handbook.” He is CEO of Mobile Future Institute. Chuck Martin is a frequent Mobile Keynote Speaker and Mobile Marketing Speaker around the world.

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