Savvy marketers are always on the lookout for trends that impact customers' daily lives. For instance, they look for emerging needs that previously customers did not know they wanted satisfied. Or they find customers have developed their own crude techniques for solving a problem. Marketers who are lucky enough to be early at spotting a trend that is ultimately widely adopted, can reap enormous benefits (e.g., Apple with iPod).
Yet, not all trends materialize in a way that only a few companies are able to spot. For example, consider mobile payment systems, where customers can make purchases by simply using their smartphone. Way back in June 2010 we wondered just how long it would take for the mobile purchase ability of cellphones to replace credit cards and cash carried in a wallet. As it turned out, it took some time. Only now, four years later, does it appear mobile purchasing has risen to being a legitimate threat to the wallet. This is especially the case in countries outside of North America and Europe, where making payment using mobile devices is burgeoning.
As discussed in this Trendwatching story, mobile payments are particularly well accepted by Asian Pacific consumers. For example, one statistic from the story reports that 46% of Asian Pacific consumers make mobile purchased compared to only 17% in North America. The story also offers examples of how companies in China, India, Thailand and other countries are attracting customers with mobile apps and other services designed to address consumers' desire to make mobile payments.
For marketers in Europe and North America, the message from this story is one that must be watched closely. While there is an expense in the infrastructure needed to accept mobile payments, the tide is moving in this direction, and marketers should be ready.