From On-Line Strategies blog: 'According to eMarketer, m-commerce sales in 2011 will nearly double sales from 2010, and then will more than quadruple again by 2015. So what were some of the trends in mobile commerce and alternative payments that emerged in 2011? Let’s take a look...' Continued.
Trish's Comments: I think that the industry in 2011 can be summed up in one word: Contradictory. It seems to me that it is finding multiple opposing solutions to some key challenges, for example:
1) Google Wallet and NFC payments vs. PayPal and its plans to enable off-line mobile payments that don't depend on NFC adoption.
2) Banks offering mobile payments that use traditional card networks rails vs. the broader opportunity to enable mobile payments that by-pass these networks.
3) Square opting to serve only the swipe-card mobile payments segment vs. iZettle total focus on the EMV segment.
4) Sprint's approach of working with Google Wallet without charging partners or customers (beyond data use) vs. Isis' approach where the other telcos are focusing on defining new revenue models.
And this is just by looking at the US market. This lack of clear trends also applies to Latin America, Africa and Asia where, extreme market fragmentation makes it very difficult for major trends to form and direct the industry. In fact, the fear is that, without a leading force it will take a long time for major trends to emerge because winning initiatives may be restricted to one or a few countries that may not allow the critical mass necessary for the technology to take off. Who could be the regional regulatory body, global macro-corporation or regional entrepreneur to take on this challenge?
In addition, a number of solutions seem to be half-baked and some others have not even been launched yet. An example of the former is Google Wallet, which doesn't fully and conveniently integrate offers and doesn't have access to information on Citi's transactions. PayPal hasn't yet launched its platform.
Obviously, this is typical of a nascent industry and, in fact, is what makes it so exciting and interesting to be part of it. Nothing is yet written in stone and companies need to place several bets and partner with different players to keep their options open in an ever-changing market. Fun, fun, fun!