Market research firm Tractica is predicting a huge boom in mobile payments via wearable devices. In a new report, the firm predicts that transaction volumes will grow from $3.1 billion this year to $501.1 billion by the year 2020.
At that point, the report says, wearable transactions will account for about a fifth of all mobile transactions, and one percent of all cashless payments in retail. In a synopsis, research director Aditya Kaul pointed to Apple Pay via the Apple Watch as “the first big effort at enabling payments with the wrist,” adding that the coming Samsung Pay and Android Pay platforms will also enable smartwatch payments. He also highlighted other, smaller-scale “early market initiatives” such as Barclays’ bPay products, which are helping to push the “nascent” market forward.
Of course, while such mPayment services are indispensably important, the question of whether wearable technology is going to take off as a delivery mechanism for mPayments remains up in the air. The smartwatch seems like the best candidate for mass market adoption, but Apple hasn’t yet released any official figures that could indicate just how popular its pioneering Apple Watch has turned out to be. That company’s chief rival, Samsung, is clearly betting that there will be a growing market for smartwatches as it develops its Gear A device, but that is certainly not a definitive indication that there will be significant demand when it hits the market. In any case, mPayments seem inarguably on the rise, and if wearables do take off as Tractica expects, such devices will certainly offer a convenient avenue for cashless transactions.