19 Feb

2013

Technology

Consumer spending points towards digital

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Mobile phones could soon outstrip cards as the most widely used payment methods, research from the Payments Council suggests.

Analysis of spending habits revealed that 91% of cash transactions are under £25, and the use of debit cards has increased fourfold since 2001.

“The Way We Pay” report also showed entertainment spending has risen by over 60%, outstripping the growth in consumer spending by over a quarter.

Spending in restaurants cafés has increased 102%, while pubs and bars have lost out in real terms as spending there increased just 7%.

Unsurprisingly, supermarkets enjoy a higher proportion of overall consumer spending, at the expense of newsagents and DIY stores.

In 2001 just 7% of payments at supermarkets were for petrol, and in 2011 it was 12%.

Adrian Kamellard, Chief Executive of the Payments Council said: “We scarcely notice the steady changes in the way we pay, yet someone in their thirties today will see more change in their lifetime than in the entire history of money.  Even recent innovations such as payment via a mobile phone, which ten years ago some felt to be science fiction, will soon be commonplace. The 2000s were the decade of the debit card. The 2010s are likely to be the decade of the mobile phone.  

“Just as we can’t imagine how we ever did without the internet, many people will soon wonder how we used to be so dependent on cash and cheque. Twenty years from now even cards may seem archaic. The quiet revolution in payments has enabled the creation of whole new industries such as e-shopping, it has changed our behaviour, and it has reduced transaction costs, and increased the speed and efficiency with which we can all pay each other.  

“The next ten years will see even faster change. It’s easy to imagine a future where we merely pat our pockets for our keys and phone.  The wallet could become a historical curiosity.”

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