Apple Pay Adoption: Whither the Revolution?

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Last year, the payments industry was on the edge of its seat — waiting to see how Apple Pay would turn its world upside down, inside out, and finally make mobile payments an everyday habit for consumers.

As we approach the one-year anniversary of Apple Pay’s release, we are still waiting for these revolutionary changes to come to fruition. PYMNTS.com has actually been watching the situation closely by tracking Apple Pay adoption and usage data over the last year, in conjunction with InfoScout. The numbers they recently shared in their Apple Pay Adoption Tracker update don’t look promising:

  • Eligible User Trials: In March 2015, 15.1% of eligible users tried the service, but in June, that number fell to 13.1%.
  • General Usage: In March 2015, 39.3% of consumers answered yes when asked “Did you use Apple Pay on this transaction?”, while only 23% answered “Yes” to this question in June.
  • Committed Users: In March 2015, 48% of iPhone 6 consumers used Apple Pay when they were able to do so. In June, only 33% used it.
  • Forgetful Users: The number of users who forgot to use Apple Pay when the service was available increased from 32% to 34% from March to June of 2015.

So what’s going on here?

Jared Schrieber, CEO of InfoScout, shared a key insight into these numbers:

“People don’t understand why it is they would go about using Apple Pay, they are fine with what they have. And they are not familiar with how they would use Apple Pay if they wanted to.”

Another point from PYMNTS.com is that Apple is in the business of selling devices, not payments platforms. The company has been very successful in selling iPhone 6 devices, 184.1 million of them by June 2015. However, according to the InfoScout survey, only 3% of purchasers cited Apple Pay as a reason they bought the iPhone 6.

It’s clear from these numbers that the launch of Apple Pay has not created the mobile payments revolution that we were promised.  However, there are many lessons to be learned from this experience, and it will be interesting to see where Apple takes this idea over the next few years.

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