Mobile 'Tap and Pay' in UK Hits £370 Million Spend in First Half of 2017

Mobile contactless transactions topped £370 million in the first six months of 2017, a whopping 336% year on year rise in spending, according to the latest transaction data from payments processor Worldpay.

The use of mobile devices to make in-store payments has been growing steadily since the UK launch of Apple Pay in 2015, but according to Worldpay it is only really in the past 12 months that the technology has begun to gain widespread acceptance beyond ‘early adopters,’ further fuelled by the launch of Android Pay in 2016 and Samsung Pay earlier this year.

Monthly spending on mobile devices has risen by 57% in the past six months (£46 million spent using mobiles in January 2017, compared to £74 million in June 2017), while mobile’s share overall in-store transactions has risen from 1.18% at the end of 2016 to 2.04% in June 2017.

Spending on all forms of contactless systems now accounts for 38% of all non-cash transactions in the UK. Total contactless spend in 2017 reached £9bn up to June, compared to £10bn throughout the whole of 2016.

James Frost, UK CMO, Worldpay, commented: “Mobile spending has shaken off the novelty tag, and is breaking its own spending records virtually every month. Granted there’s still some way to go before we start cutting up our cards and chucking away our wallets, but it’s easy to see why everyone from start-ups to tech giants is eager to have a stake in the technology.”

Supermarkets and grocery stores continue to dominate the mobile tap and pay market, accounting for 55% of total spend so far in 2017. Londoners still spend the most on their mobiles, but the proportion of transactions concentrated around the Capital has reduced from 32% at the end of 2016, to 28% in 2017, as adoption becomes more widespread across the UK.

James Frost continued: “The introduction of the Oyster Card back in 2003 gave Londoners a bit of a head-start when it comes to tapping to pay, but the intervening 14 years might as well be a century when it comes to how far the payments landscape has evolved. We’re now seeing pockets of incredible growth in mobile adoption right across the country with the South East of England accounting for 15% of total spend and the North West making up 10%.

“Mobile is already emerging as the dominant payment channel for ecommerce. It’s very difficult to argue against it doing the same for in-store payments; and at a far faster rate than many would imagine.”