Mobile Commerce Insider Featured Article

October 28, 2014

Apple Pay Runs Bartertown and Much of the Contactless Payment Market

What a difference a week makes! We went from life completely without Apple Pay to having the service for about a week, and the reports coming in suggest that Apple Pay is one of the biggest things around. At an event hosted by The Wall Street Journal, Apple CEO Tim Cook outlined for attendees just how far Apple Pay has come in just a week, and the numbers are certainly potent enough to suggest that, indeed, Apple Pay is one of the biggest names around.

In just 72 hours, the reports suggest, Apple activated fully one million Apple Pay cards. The number has likely gone up since, of course, and customer response has reportedly been as positive as activations have been brisk. Cook himself reported a “flood” of emails coming in, and Cook is even a user of the service himself, having recently made a purchase at Whole Foods using his Apple Pay account.

Naturally, it didn't take long for questions to turn in the direction of those businesses that won't take Apple Pay, like CVS and other retailers. But Cook had a response ready here as well, noting that this “skirmish” would likely be settled as time went along and Apple Pay better proved its value to the retail community. Cook noted, “In the long arc of time you're only relevant as a merchant if your customers love you.”

Cook didn't just talk Apple Pay at the event, either, noting that Apple's software and services drive about $18 billion annually in revenue, and that Cook expects that the iPhone will drive about half of that figure “...for the foreseeable future.” Cook also noted that he expects users will be charging Apple Watches nightly, and probably overnight, and further noted that there were plenty of poor-quality tablets in the market today.

So clearly, Apple is a lot more than Apple Pay, but most anyone who was following Apple for any length of time already knew that much. Apple Pay is still the big new thing in town, and it's incredible just how far it's come in so short a period. Even if its forward momentum stops altogether as of now, it's still going to have a substantial user base on its side, and that's going to make Apple Pay a force to be reckoned with in mobile commerce for some time to come. Given Apple's already substantial user base, it's likely the momentum won't stop, as Apple users will have plenty of reason to put those devices to work making mobile payments. Retailers who don't accept the service, meanwhile, will likely have to make a change in the short term lest customers go somewhere where the service can be used instead. Given that some reports suggest around 20,000 retailers will accept the service, it's likely those holdouts won't stick to those guns much longer.

Only time will tell just what the mobile payment market looks like after Apple Pay has had more than a week to get into the fray. But knowing what we know so far about its first week and the total Apple device user base, it's worth suggesting there's quite a bit of upward potential for the service, and that potential will likely be realized soon.




Edited by Maurice Nagle




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