Retale (, a location-based mobile platform connecting shoppers with their favorite local retailers, announced the results of a commissioned study examining consumer interest and adoption of in-store mobile payment in advance of the holiday shopping season. The study focused on several key areas, including the benefits, challenges, and preferred usage of mobile payment. More than 1,000 adult men and women in the U.S. were polled between November 3-10, 2014.


36% of respondents have previously used a mobile device – either a smartphone or tablet – to pay for something in a brick-and-mortar retail store, while the majority (64%) has not. However, mobile pay use in 2012 was just 15%,* meaning that the category has more than doubled over a two-year period.

When asked if they would be interested in using a mobile device to pay for a gift or other item in a retail store this holiday season, nearly three out of five respondents (56%) said they would, and an equal number (57%) said that retailers should offer some kind of mobile payment option in-store.

Those familiar with mobile pay are even more enthusiastic, according to the survey. Among those who have used some form of mobile pay in-store, 91% said they would do so again during the holidays while purchasing gifts for friends and family. 

“Though the majority of shoppers have yet to use mobile pay, they do see it as an increasingly useful way to pay in-store, particularly during busy shopping periods,” said Pat Dermody, President of Retale. “For retailers interested in bridging the gap between online and offline, mobile may offer a solution.”


Convenience was cited as the primary benefit of in-store mobile payments by 58% of respondents. Alternatively, 24% called in-store mobile payments inconvenient, indicating the need for convenience parity relative to cash, credit, and debit cards.


The top three factors of greatest concern to respondents about mobile pay in-store were: “data breaches and privacy” (28%); “possible theft or loss of my mobile device” (17%); and “difficulty keeping track of spending” (10%). 46% of all respondents said that all of these factors currently concern them.


More than a third of respondents (68%) said they would be most comfortable using in-store mobile payment for items $50 and under, whereas 20% indicated comfort with the $50 to $250 range. Only 12% said they would be comfortable using mobile pay for a purchase over $250.

When asked what they were most likely to purchase with on-site mobile payment over the next three months, respondents mentioned lower-priced product categories over more expensive ones. The top five responses were: food (27%); clothing (24%); gas (17%); electronics (13%); and appliances (4%).

“It is still early days for mobile pay,” said Dermody. “As adoption increases and in-store mobile payment becomes more normal, we will see spending amounts rise. Right now, it’s a comfort issue.”

Apple Pay Versus PayPal

When asked to identify the mobile payment service they would most likely use in-store, just over half (51%) mentioned PayPal. “Your bank’s mobile payment app” was the runner-up, with 21%, followed by Apple Pay, at 10%. Google Wallet and “a retailer’s app” were tied with 8%, while CurrentC – a mobile pay service developed by a consortium of top retailers – was named by only 2%.


Among survey respondents, millennials were – by far – the most receptive to mobile pay. Key data points on this group in terms of adoption and usage include:


  •          53% have used mobile pay in-store – 17% higher than average (36%)
  •          73% are interested in using mobile pay for holiday shopping – 17% higher than average (56%)
  •          67% found mobile pay to be convenient – 9% higher than average (58%)
  •          74% want retailers to have a mobile pay option in-store -- 17% higher than average (57%)
  •          Millennials were the only group to choose clothing as their top mobile payment purchase category (34%), with food in second place (26%)

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