ComScore: Low awareness, retail access key barriers to widespread digital wallet adoption

RESTON, Va. — ComScore on Monday released the Digital Wallet Road Map 2013, a study which measures consumer awareness, perceptions and intent to use current digital wallet offerings. The study found digital wallets, which store a virtual copy of the contents of a consumer's physical wallet to facilitate online or offline retail transactions, only had awareness among 51% of U.S. consumers for wallets other than PayPal.

"Digital wallets represent an innovative technology that has not yet reached critical mass among consumers due to a variety of factors, including low awareness and a muddied understanding of their benefits," stated Andrea Jacobs , ComScore payments practice leader. "Low awareness, understanding of benefits and availability among retailers are among the key barriers to adoption of digital wallets," she said. "While these impediments may seem like a steep hill to climb, we have seen this story play out before in the financial services industry. There was a time when consumers were reluctant to use ATMs for similar reasons."

The current digital wallet landscape remains fragmented among providers because of low consumer adoption outside of PayPal, with only 12% of consumers claiming to have used a digital wallet other than PayPal. However, study results indicated that the digital wallet market opportunity could eventually reach 1 in 2 consumers as consumers become more aware of the offerings and educated on their benefits.

One clear barrier to use of digital wallets is that the concept is often difficult to convey and prone to misinterpretation. Even after being asked to review the web sites of particular digital wallets, respondents across all wallet brands still scored an average of just 45% in terms of demonstrated level of understanding.

The study revealed that security remains a top consumer concern, but that a significant portion of consumers are not aware of security features inherent in digital wallet usage. While 93% of consumers would prefer to use a digital wallet that has to be unlocked before use, an average of just 57% of respondents across the brands studied realized – after having reviewed the digital wallet website – that this locking feature was available. Some digital wallet providers were more successful than others in communicating the availability of this feature, with 71% awareness among Lemon web site visitors versus 42% among LevelUp web site visitors. The ability to improve communications of features addressing consumer concerns, such as security, could remove an important hurdle to adoption, ComScore noted. 


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