According to a new survey, 63% of 18 to 34 year-olds would be comfortable using their mobile phones to make purchases, versus the older generation (35 and up). This “younger” generation is highly attached to their mobile devices when compared with the older group, too, with 65% reporting they “feel more naked” without their phones than their wallets. Meanwhile only 34% of the older group could say the same.
The survey was conducted by MasterCard, and, like many others, its goal was to take the pulse of consumers’ interest in new and emerging forms of payments, and to better understand the company’s customer base. With help from Kelton Research, the survey was conducted online and used quotas to ensure a reliable and accurate representation of the total U.S. population over 18, MasterCard says.
In this case, MasterCard’s main goal was to understand users perceptions about NFC, short for near field communication, an emerging technology that allows mobile phone users to make purchases just by waving or tapping their phone to at the point-of-sale.
Increasing Demand over the Years
In comparing these survey results with another, separate survey MasteCard conducted in 2010, you can see the growing demand and interest in mobile payments, especially among the younger demographic.
In 2010, respondents under 30 had shown a 67% increase (15% in 2009 to 25% in 2010) in the number of purchases made with their mobile phone, for example. In this same time period, they increased their daily mobile phone access to their bank’s online services by 79% (14% in 2009 to 25% in 2010).
Other Perceptions, Gender Divides
The new survey found that over half (54%) of the respondents feel that a mobile phone can tell you more about a person than their wallet. It also examined some of the psychological aspects to using mobile payments technology, and how the technology may be perceived differently among men and women.
Men were found to think of phones as more functional necessities, while women had a more personal relationship with their phones. Men were also more willing to adopt mobile payments, as more men than women (51% vs. 40%) said they would be at ease with making purchases using their phones. More men than women (49% vs. 45%) also said they would be impressed by someone who paid a bill with a mobile phone instead of a credit card.
However, women’s personal relationship with their phone was revealed in other findings. For example, 50% of women feel more “exposed” without their phone as compared with only 36% of men.
While overall, the survey reports a general consumer readiness for mobile payments, a measurement of what people say they will do is not typically as accurate as measuring what people will actually do. In addition, nearly two-thirds (62%) of respondents said they need confirmation that mobile payments are safe before they would adopt the new technology, which means both marketing and advertising agencies have challenges ahead of them to push mobile payments into mainstream use.