Digital wallet user base to increase to 4bn by 2024

World Payments Report 2020 graph showing growth in mobile payments
EXPANSION The report forecasts mobile payments will drive non-cash transaction growth

The number of digital wallet users globally will increase from 2.3bn in 2019 to 4bn in 2024 and global non-cash transactions will grow to nearly 1.1tn in 2023 from 708.5bn in 2019, according to the World Payments Report 2020.

Automated payment processes, such as self-checkout services, are forecast to reach a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 51% for the 2017-2022 period, while increased demand for NFC-based payment solutions, anti-counterfeit technology and wearables will see the NFC market reach almost US$50bn by 2024.

Global non-cash transactions grew by nearly 14% between 2018-19, an increase led by a 31.1% growth in China, India and SE Asia, and driven by “increasing smartphone usage, booming e-commerce, digital wallet adoption and mobile/QR-code payments innovations,” according to the report.

The migration of consumers away from cash and a growing affinity for digital payments are evident in changing payment preferences during the Covid-19 pandemic, the report continues.

“As of April 2020, more than 38% of consumers said they discovered a new payment provider during the lockdown.

“Internet banking and direct account transfers were, and still are, the preferred payment method throughout the global health crisis, according to 68% of consumer survey respondents.

“Contactless (tap-to-pay) cards came in second, with 64% saying they used them often.

“Digital wallets (including QR-based payments) were the preferred choice of 48% of respondents.”

The survey also found that 47% of consumers are interested in conversational commerce and using voice-based assistants to make e-commerce purchases.

Examining trends in business-to-business (B2B) transactions, the report highlights growing interest in instant payments, API-based payments, virtual cards and mobile payments, and B2B wallets, especially among smaller businesses.

“For corporate treasurers faced with business-to-business challenges and inefficiencies, the pandemic has required them to look to digital as the solution to address counterparty risk, connectivity solutions, payments automation and cybersecurity,” the researchers say.

“Corporate treasurers now are looking for their bank and payments firms to provide enhanced API integration, risk management, and real-time payments and tracking.”

In the banking sector, the report continues, 79% of bank executives rank client-visible innovation and 75% rank digital transformation as the key drivers for their strategic initiatives in 2020, with 60% believing that “working with third parties throughout the value chain will help them augment ecosystem-based propositions”.

The World Payments Report 2020 brings together research from 44 payments markets and is based on a survey of more than 8,500 consumers, 235 banks, fintechs, payments providers and corporate businesses as well as interviews with 45 executives across the banking, financial, tech and retail sectors.

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