Press Release

STAMFORD, Conn., July 21, 2011 View All Press Releases

Gartner Says Worldwide Mobile Payment Users to Reach 141 Million in 2011

Mobile Payments in Developing Markets Growing Slower Than Expected

Worldwide mobile payment users will surpass 141.1 million in 2011, a 38.2 percent increase from 2010, when mobile payment users reached 102.1 million, according to Gartner, Inc. Worldwide mobile payment volume is forecast to total $86.1 billion, up 75.9 percent from 2010 volume of $48.9 billion.

Despite these strong growth projections, Gartner analysts said the mobile payment market is growing slower than expected.

“In developing markets, despite favorable conditions for mobile payment, growth is not as strong as was anticipated. Many service providers are yet to adapt their strategies to local requirements, and success models from Kenya and the Philippines are unlikely to be translated to other markets,” said Sandy Shen, research director at Gartner. While developing markets have favorable conditions for mobile payments, such as high penetration of mobile devices and low banking penetration, this is no guarantee of success, unless service providers adapt their strategies to local market requirements.”

"In developed markets, companies are trumpeting the prospects of Near Field Communication (NFC) without realizing the complexity of the service model. We believe mass market adoption of NFC payments is at least four years away," Ms. Shen said. "The biggest hurdle is the need to change user behavior by convincing consumers to pay with mobile phones instead of cash and cards."

Gartner expects Short Message Service (SMS) and Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) to remain the dominant access technologies in developing markets due to the constraints of mobile phones. Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) will remain the preferred mobile access technology in developed markets, where the mobile Internet is commonly available and activated on the phone. Mobile app downloads and mobile commerce are the main drivers of WAP payments, and WAP will account for almost 90 percent of all mobile transactions in North America and about 70 percent in Western Europe in 2011.

Money transfers and prepaid top-ups will drive transaction volumes in developing markets. These are seen as the "killer apps" in developing markets, where people value the convenience of sending money to relatives and topping up mobile accounts. This is most obvious in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, where these two services will account for 54 percent and 32 percent of all transactions in 2011.

"Thanks to the success of mobile application stores, such as Apple's App Store, and the efforts in driving mobile sales by major retailers, such as Amazon and eBay, merchandise purchases far outweigh other use cases in developed markets, which include North America and Western Europe," Ms. Shen said. "We predict that in 2011, merchandise purchases will account for 90 percent and 77 percent of all transactions in North America and Western Europe, respectively."  

Additional information is available in the Gartner report “Market Trends: Mobile Payments Worldwide, 2011." The report is available on Gartner's website at

About Gartner

Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the world's leading information technology research and advisory company. The company delivers the technology-related insight necessary for its clients to make the right decisions, every day. From CIOs and senior IT leaders in corporations and government agencies, to business leaders in high-tech and telecom enterprises and professional services firms, to technology investors, Gartner is the valuable partner to clients in approximately 10,000 distinct enterprises worldwide. Through the resources of Gartner Research, Gartner Executive Programs, Gartner Consulting and Gartner Events, Gartner works with every client to research, analyze and interpret the business of IT within the context of their individual role. Founded in 1979, Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, USA, and has 8,300 associates, including more than 1,800 research analysts and consultants, and clients in more than 90 countries. For more information, visit

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