Report: U.K. Consumers Not Ready for Mobile Wallets 

Jan. 7, 2013

Though smartphone penetration in the U.K. is at 60 percent and rising, the market “simply isn’t ready” for mobile wallets, according to London-based research firm and consultancy ICM Research. Awareness of mobile payments—especially contactless payments leveraging NFC technology—is running high in the U.K., but only 8 percent of consumers actually use their devices to make payments, according to the research. More than half of all British consumers said they would use mobile payments if their concerns about security were addressed. And, until more NFC-enabled devices are available, mobile wallets can’t be adopted.

“[Consumers] expect a range of incentives and benefits to get them to pay [using mobile devices],” said Jamie Belnikoff, associate director at ICM Research. “However even with this encouragement, their genuine security concerns, the lack of terminals in shops and absence of in-store promotion are also preventing broader consumer take-up.”

ICM said it also believes brands also aren’t doing enough to connect with their customers using mobile tools they’re already comfortable with, particularly apps. Heading into the holiday shopping season, ICM said only one high-street retailer was utilizing an app specifically designed to help with Christmas shopping, which ICM called “a real missed opportunity.”