What had domain experts anticipated and did it come true?
2018 was the year of big moves in the payment ecosystem. Furthermore, a record number of connected and voice-activated devices were sold, which affected e-commerce in its way as well.
We’ve seen the fall of cryptocurrency (broken, but not beaten), but it is still unclear whether this bubble will burst, or if it will it be blown up again. Blockchain technology entered multiple spheres of our lives, and even the conservative classic banking industry let it get a foothold on its doorstep.
PaySpace Magazine has decided to make a little “Throwback Tuesday”, and recall what global experts predicted for the payment industry in 2018, and did it come true.
Let’s start with anticipation about power brokers, and their authority expanding
Yes, that’s exactly what was predicted for 2018, and their presence in the payment ecosystem was supposed to be broad.
But, unlike the power brokers of old who bullied their way into consumers’ pocketbooks, it would be the consumers themselves who invited those power brokers into their worlds.
It is difficult to say that the prediction was 100% accurate, but the spread of connected devices propelled that process. Today, power brokers have access to the World Wide Web anytime, anywhere. Moreover, they can easily connect to merchants, businesses, financial institutions, etc. Connected and voice-controlled devices have significantly reduced the distance between consumers and businesses, retailers and manufacturers, banks and clients as a whole.
However, mostly this prediction can be considered as true.
The first thing pops to mind is Amazon, and how powerful and influential this company became during the last year. The firm can predict, and even somehow control consumer purchase behavior. PayPal grows steadily, and mobile wallets have become the norm today. Walmart is keeping pace, and slowly, but surely is expanding its base (both online and offline). We don’t know what to expect from 2019, but this anticipation for 2018 (partly) came true.
Talking about power brokers, it would be Amazon rather than Apple
That’s where predictions surely came true. In 2018, such a giant as Apple, which — wrap your head around this for a second — had a market cap of no less than $1T, wasn’t so successful in mobile phone sales that hit a lower market cap than Microsoft.
What can we say about Amazon?
Alexa became the leader of voice-activated technology, and it also became omnipresent. You can find it almost anywhere, from smart glasses and washers, to bathroom tech and automobiles.
Amazon came even further, and created a Prime customer base. Today, multiple companies’ devices have access to customers through Amazon’s voice-activated assistant, Alexa. Amazon Pay will only facilitate the purchasing and payment process.
So, how can we sum up this prediction? Apple is gradually losing ground in e-commerce and payment ecosystems, while Amazon’s outcomes are at a record high.
The premonition certainly came true.
Remote payments to kill the physical POS
Now, in 2019, it is safe to say that this anticipation came true one hundred percent solid, and we don’t have any reason to believe that 2019 will not consolidate the success of this trend.
Checkouts and cashiers desks are gradually ceasing, as they are being replaced with store/mobile self-checkouts. There is no place for old good tried-and-true POS checkouts in the nearest future.
Physical checkout, hence POS has become merely irrelevant, with their queues and cashier desk operators. Retail is moving rapidly towards a contactless future, and remote/contactless payments will just push the POS checkout out of the market. Why does a consumer need to wait in a long line, or waste their time speaking to a sales consultant, if it is possible now to scan an item they need and pay for it without interaction with a cashier? Moreover, you can even pay for an item you have chosen beforehand, and just pick it up at the nearest customer service desk, which makes the process much easier.
At the end of 2017 experts worldwide said that in 2018 bricks-and-mortar stores would likely become more like showrooms. According to the latest research, we can boldly claim that everything “goes as planned”. We can predict that this trend will have an even bigger boost in 2019, since consumers prefer convenience, and when it comes to time-saving, you can barely find someone who will refuse such an option.
From apps to voice commerce and connected devices
In early 2018 we heard a lot about a decline in the app industry. And the boldest experts predicted that it would be replaced with voice-controlled devices and voice commerce as a whole.
In 2018, it was estimated that users spent roughly five hours on their smartphones each day. And the most interesting fact was that they spent from 1.5 to 3 minutes on shopping apps every day. In late 2018, App Annie reported that consumers spent about 50 minutes on shopping apps every month, which approximately matches the above-mentioned statistics.
These statistics prove that nowadays customers reluctantly go to app stores in order to search for items, and rarely download new shopping applications. They have already found another ecosystem, and this is the voice commerce we are talking about.
As we’ve mentioned above (the first point about power brokers), Alexa has become ubiquitous. It has become a convenient bridge between the digital environment and connected devices, which are widely used by consumers to make purchases.
To sum up
2018 was a great year, which has brought multiple changes and innovations in the payment industry. What to expect from 2019? Only time will tell. Predictions about 2018 mostly came true, and we are looking forward to seeing what the industry experts will tell us about 2019.