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Apple Pay Use Growing in US, According to Auriemma Consulting Group Study; UK Could Prove Even More Receptive

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| Source: Auriemma Consulting Group, Inc.

LONDON, July 28, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Apple Pay usage in the US is growing, driven by both increased frequency of transactions and the expanding base of iPhone 6 owners, according to The Auriemma Consulting Group (ACG) Apple Pay Tracker, which interviewed 500 iPhone 6 and 6+ owners between May 29 and June 15, 2015. Forty-two percent of US Apple 6/6+ owners reported having used Apple Pay, virtually identical to the proportions reported in two previous waves of the study conducted in February and April 2015. "While the proportion of users has remained stable, the denominator has grown through new iPhone and Apple Watch sales and the upgrade cycle. We've also seen the average number of transactions increase both in-store and in-app," says Marianne Berry, Managing Director of ACG's Payment Insights practice.

Data from the study indicates that American users consider Apple Pay to be more than a novelty, Berry notes. "It's not surprising that the first cohort to own the newest iPhone would be eager to try Apple Pay, so we were particularly interested in comparing trial to adoption rates. Eighty-four percent of Apple Pay users reported having made more than three transactions in stores, and 76% have used it more than three times in-app, suggesting that the abandon rate is low."

The number of places where Apple Pay is used has also increased. In the April survey, only 13% of US Apple Pay users had used it in more than six stores, while two months later that number had grown to 24%. During the same two month period, the number using Apple Pay for six or more apps grew from 1% to 10%.

In the UK, where Apple Pay just launched, the proportion of merchants accepting the payment method is much higher than in the US, due to the broader deployment of contactless cards and NFC, a technology that enables mobile phone payment. ACG plans to track Apple Pay usage in the UK, Berry stated, and adds that "it will be fascinating to compare the adoption curve in the two markets given the difference in the number of opportunities to use it".

"It's likely that the number of retailers accepting Apple Pay will expand, especially as merchants hear from these customers and look at their purchasing power. Seventy percent of Apple Pay users state that they are more likely to choose a store that accepts Apple Pay," Berry says, "and this group is even more affluent than the overall Apple phone owner population."

Indeed, one of the few complaints US users have is a lack of opportunities to use Apple Pay. The effect is particularly notable in the burgeoning m-commerce market, as Apple Pay devotees have learned to search the App Store to find apps that accept the payment method. "It's a rare instance of consumers starting out with a preferred payment method and searching for a place to spend it---like the proverbial hammer looking for a nail."

Despite the enthusiasm of early adopters, Apple Pay sales volume accounts for only a tiny share of overall credit and debit card sales, and Berry doesn't expect that to change quickly. "In the early days after launch, we found a high level of intent to use among those who hadn't tried it yet. As more iPhone owners gain the ability to use the service through the upgrade cycle, we're seeing a pretty stable proportion of about 30% who are taking a 'wait-and-see' attitude, often citing security concerns about a new technology. The introduction of Android Pay later this year may accelerate the evolution of perceptions about mobile payments moving from novelty to mainstream."

About Auriemma Consulting Group

ACG is a boutique management consulting firm with specialized focus on the Payments and Lending space. We deliver actionable solutions and insights that add value to our clients' business activities across a broad set of industry topics and disciplines. Founded in 1984, ACG has grown from a one-man shop to a nearly 50-person firm with offices in London and New York. Visit ACG's website at www.acg.net. For more information, please contact Marianne Berry at +44 207 629 0075 or marianne.berry@acg.net.