The Mobile Wallet is Already Here...

Once a year, the Ofcom Global Media and Communications report is released. This is a UK focused report that is 363 pages (PDF download here) of insight and analysis on the communications sector. Let me save you some time and pull out the one chart that absolutely blew me away.

Do you see that? Respondents in China overwhelmingly use mobile payment services for non-digital goods ("real stuff") in comparison to the rest of the world. For all of the talk here in the West about the mobile wallet and how Apple Pay is helping to spur growth, it would seem that this digital unicorn has already arrived. Just not here.

So for those who have used a mobile payments system, what are they buying? Take a look at this chart. China continues to lead in terms of adoption across product categories.

So what's going on here? My suspicion is that mobile adoption in China is very commonly a "one device to rule them all" purchase. That is, consumers buy a phone (often a phablet) and use that one device for all of their computing needs. So it seems very natural that, as the middle class in China continues to explode, these new consumers are ready to adopt mobile payments systems because it is all they know. Over here in the West? We still seem stuck in our ways and the only thing moving the needle appears to be massive data breaches.