Starbucks, of all companies, is leading the mobile payments race, beating out Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay, according to a new market report from eMarketer.
The market research firm estimates that this year about 23.4 million people aged 14 and over will use the Starbucks app for an in-store purchase at least once every six months. Apple Pay is in second place with about 22 million users expected for the year, while Google Pay is projected to have 11.1 million users, and Samsung Pay is expected to have 9.9 million. Remarkably, these rankings are expected to hold, with eMarketer asserting in its report that “[t]he ranking will remain unchanged through 2022.”
While Starbucks’ high ranking is surprising enough in itself, it’s all the more interesting for being somewhat outdated in terms of contemporary mPayment technology. Starbucks launched its payment app before any of these other platforms became available, at a time when the use of NFC technology in smartphones was less common, and as such its payment system is based on QR code scanning; users can’t simply wave their phones over a POS terminal as they can with platforms like Apple Pay or Samsung Pay. That having been said, like those platforms, it does offer support for biometric authentication.
Of course, eMarketer’s projections should be taken with a grain of salt. All of the major mPayment platform providers have been relatively cagey about their usage rates, let alone profits, with respect to their apps, and Apple in particular has refused to issue any solid numbers other than overall growth trends for Apple Pay. For its part, eMarketer says its estimates “are based on an analysis of quantitative and qualitative data from research firms, government agencies, media firms and public companies, plus interviews with top executives at publishers, ad buyers and agencies,” with data “weighted based on methodology and soundness.”
If that sounds like a reasonable enough approach, then you can expect growth for all of these mobile payment platforms over the coming year, with eMarketer asserting that these projections reflect overall user growth of 14.5 percent in the US, and asserting that these use of these platforms will continue to expand through 2022.