At RTi, we have been globally researching Mobile Engagement and the Mobile Wallet phenomenon for several of our clients across a range of business silos. Since 2011, we have been proactively tracking key elements of mobile banking and mobile shopping dynamics among 1,500 US consumers each month to better understand the engagement with mobile devices as they relate to digital/mobile wallet. 

We’d like to share some insights we’ve gleaned from this effort in terms of mobile shopping and financial behavior…perhaps a bit more.

Smartphone/Tablet PC Organic Growth Alone May Not Be Enough

Ownership and usage of the key mobile engagement devices – smartphones and tablets – continues to steadily increase from quarter to quarter. It’s no surprise that mobile smart devices are fundamental to mobile wallet activity. As more consumers adopt smart mobile devices, the opportunities for e-commerce and mobile wallet transaction also expand.

But growth is beginning to slow to a gradual build as penetration heads toward saturation levels. US penetration in 4Q ’13 is already at 65% for the population 18 and older. So while the broad US target for mobile wallet marketers is already substantial, we think the competition between platforms will heat up as marketers will no longer be able to depend on mobile device organic growth rates to carry the day.

Mobile Device Ownership/Use and Mobile Engagement
(US Adults 18 & Older)

Shopping and Banking Tactical Drivers

Underneath that relatively slow, steady organic growth for mobile devices, we are seeing an ebb and flow of mobile shopping and banking activity that marches to a different drummer.

Each month, Mobile Engagement (banking and shopping) is in lock-step with and fluctuates with the receipt of e-coupons and offers.

When mobile promotional initiatives rise, they appear to trigger a near-term boost in mobile banking and purchasing. When promotional offers are less readily available, mobile shopping and banking tend to soften.

The pattern suggests that mobile consumers may have come to expect and seek e-coupons to trigger their mobile transaction.

 Mobile Engagement Trends with E-Offers/Coupons
(US Adults 18 & Older)