Mobile person to person payments good prospect for developing markets

A consumer survey conducted by ABI Research in November 2009 in seven countries on three continents has found consistently low levels of interest in making person-to-person payments via the mobile phone. The survey polled subscribers, equally divided by gender, in Germany, France, the UK, the US, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea. About 200 respondents participated from each country.

While there were differences across age groups and between countries, the overall results showed that only 16% of Western Europeans surveyed considered themselves ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ interested in mobile P2P payments, while in the US, the percentage was only 9%. Consumers in the three Asia Pacific countries showed much greater interest – 34%.

According to senior analyst Mark Beccue: “It’s tough to make a convincing case for mobile P2P in most developed markets. This survey confirms ABI Research’s assessment of mobile P2P’s potential in the United States and Europe. We believe it will have minimum impact in these markets because some forms of electronic P2P such as PayPal have operated there for several years with relatively low market penetration; and because these markets boast extensive ATM and banking networks, giving consumers easy access to cash to conveniently conduct P2P transactions.”

If a similar survey were to be conducted in developing markets the results would likely be very different, said Beccue. “In parts of Africa, Asia, and Latin America which generally lack good tools for convenient P2P transactions other than face to face, mobile payment methods will be huge.”

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