At RTi, we have been 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.

As this effort rolls forward into Q2 2014, we’d like to share some insights we’ve gleaned 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. March and April of 2014 show significant mobile engagement increases over last spring, a sign that mobile device adoption is headed to greater heights.

As more consumers adopt smart mobile devices, the opportunities for e-commerce and mobile wallet transaction also expand. But mobile wallet growth has generally not kept pace with mobile device engagement.

Mobile Shopping and Banking Tactical Drivers

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

Each month, mobile banking and shopping engagement is in lock-step with and fluctuates with the receipt of e-coupons and offers and shopper product research.

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.

So while the broad US target for mobile wallet marketers is already substantial and growing, we continue to believe that organic growth of mobile device usage will not be enough. Marketers will have to develop compelling value propositions and possibly more importantly, easy to use and widely accepted apps/platforms.