Toronto, 03.11.2016

Canada Ranks High in Use of Mobile Devices During In-Store Shopping, But Still Lags in Mobile Payments


Strong use of contact-less payments with credit and debit cards may undercut mobile payments growth – GfK study


New global research reveals that Canadian shoppers are among the world’s leaders in using mobile devices during trips to bricks-and-mortar retail outlets. But in-store mobile payments still account for just 2% of all Canadian transactions – a level dramatically lower than China and other mobile-forward regions.

Click here to learn more about this study.

When asked where they last used a smartphone or tablet to help them shop, 38% of Canadian shoppers answered “in a store” – one of the highest levels among the 20 countries measured. Only the United Kingdom (40%) and India (42%) recorded greater in-store use of a mobile device. The comparable figure for China was 30%.

But only 2% of Canadian shoppers reported actually making a payment with a mobile device in a store – much lower than China’s 24%, and beaten even by the UK’s 3%. Canadians are prolific users of the contact-less payment feature offered by many credit and debit cards and POS systems. Contact-less transactions account for 27% of all payments in Canada – almost double the global average of 15%.  
Among the most common reasons Canadian shoppers use mobile devices (in stores or elsewhere) are to compare prices (reported by 39%), search for product information (38%), read online reviews (31%), and check availability of an item (27%).

Levels of concern and skepticism about mobile payments in Canada are strikingly high. Almost half (45%) of Canadian shoppers now agree that “mobile payments are more of a gimmick today than a major part of how I pay.” And more than half (57%) say, “I am worried about my personal information when using a mobile payment app.”

Canadian, European, and US shoppers also displayed low levels of enthusiasm for mobile payments expansion. While two-thirds (65%) of those in Latin America said they “look forward to being able to pay for more and more transactions from my mobile device,” only one-quarter (24%) of Canadian shoppers felt that way. The world average was 41%, with Europe (28%) and the US (26%) also coming in substantially lower, while Asia Pacific was slightly higher (51%).

“Canadian shoppers feel comfortable using their mobile devices for a variety of shopping activities – learning about products, checking availability, and reading reviews,” said Stephen Popiel, Vice President at GfK Canada. “But mobile payments still represent a small minority of purchases. With the prevalence of contactless debit and credit usage, consumers are already getting a lot of the convenience of a mobile wallet. Financial institutions and merchants will need to create a more compelling value proposition to give mobile payments a shot at their breakthrough moment.”

GfK’s annual FutureBuy study measures the shifting interactions of digital and in-person activities in the shopper experience, tracking essential trends such as “showrooming” and “webrooming.” In 2016, FutureBuy covers 20 countries and 16 major product categories, from beauty and personal care products to major appliances to healthcare services. Ideal for sales, category, and brand managers, as well as strategic planners, FutureBuy insights are available in off-the-shelf country reports, custom reports, and through the GfK Connect portal.


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