Students leading the mobile money revolution

London - 30 May 2012

As smartphone adoption in UK climbs to one in two

Students are embracing mobile money technology at a lightning fast rate, with new YouGov data suggesting they would use their smartphones to manage their finances more than any other group of people in Great Britain.

According to the online poll conducted on behalf of digital banking provider, Intelligent Environments (IE), 53 per cent of students who own a smartphone would manage their bank accounts via their mobile device, if they could, compared to 44 per cent of people in work. A quarter (25%) of students with a smartphone meanwhile said they would use their mobile for peer to peer transfers, versus 22 per cent of people in full or part time employment.

Overall, the research suggests that Brits who own a smartphone are increasingly seeking convenient solutions to meet their busy and demanding lifestyles. Half of workers (49%) and students (47%) admitted they would be interested in using their mobile device, if possible, to swipe across a payment reader to ‘wave and pay’ for goods or services.

This comes at a time when smartphone penetration in Britain has reached a tipping point with more Brits owning a smartphone than not. The survey revealed that 51 per cent of Brits now own a smartphone compared to a third (33%) one year ago[i]. Android continues to be the most popular operating system, accounting for 36 per cent of the smartphone market compared to the iPhone’s 31 per cent and BlackBerry’s 15 per cent. This compares to 2011 figures where 28 per cent of smartphone owners had an Android device and 26 per cent used an iPhone[ii].

James Richards, VP of Mobile at Intelligent Environments, said: “The tipping point for smartphone ownership has finally arrived. With over half the adult population of Great Britain now in possession of one of these devices, it is clear that they have become integral to consumers’ lives, helping them to conduct day-to-day tasks with relative speed and ease. With mobile ‘wallet’ services adding to the growing list of smartphone capabilities, the use of mobile money applications is only going to grow.

“Already we are seeing more banks and mobile network operators roll out mobile payments offerings while handset manufacturers and retailers are introducing NFC technology and point of sale terminals in the run up to the Olympics. The Games promise to be a great showcase for this technology, however, in order to keep ahead of the curve and to see customer take-up grow, businesses need to continue to provide innovative and life improving mobile money solutions that the increasingly tech savvy population expects.”

Other key findings uncovered by the research on smartphone owners showed that:

  • Despite being savvier about managing money and settling debts, 47 per cent of students said they would be interested in using their mobile device to swipe across a payment reader to ‘wave and pay’ for goods or services, compared to the 49 per cent of working people who would do the same.
  • Men are more at ease with mobile banking solutions than women with 23 per cent saying they would pay a friend via mobile compared to 19 per cent of women.
  • Men are also more likely to manage their finances on a smartphone (46% vs. 37%), pay for tickets and events (32% vs. 27%), shop online (42% vs. 39%) and pay bills (35% vs. 32%).
  • Children have an influence on the uptake of mobile money solutions. 48 per cent of adults living in a house with at least one child are more likely to manage their bank accounts via mobile phone compared to 38 per cent of people living without.
  • 44 per cent of adults in houses with children also said they would use their device to shop online, compared to 39 per cent without.
  • Of the unemployed people polled, 37 per cent said they owned a smartphone. This is a jump from similar research conducted by IE last year, when 28 per cent of the unemployed had a smartphone.
  • Different forms of mobile money solutions have gained popularity in certain parts of Great Britain, with:
    • People in the West Midlands and Wales are most likely to pay a friend by smartphone (27%)
    • The Welsh are also most likely to manage their bank accounts via their smartphone (48%)
    • Londoners are most likely to purchase tickets via their smartphones (38%)
    • Mobile online shopping is most popular in Yorkshire and the Humber (48%) as is paying a bill with a mobile (41%)

[i] Statistic sourced from YouGov research commissioned by IE and undertaken between 18th - 21st March 2011. The survey was carried out online and total sample size was 2001 adults.

[ii] As above

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