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A Mere 6% of U.S. iPhone Users Who Set Up Apple Pay Actually Use It

A Mere 6% of U.S. iPhone Users Who Set Up Apple Pay Actually Use It

A mere six percent of iPhone users living in the United States that have set up Apple Pay on their device actually use the feature. The information comes courtesy of a study by PYMNTS.

Apple Pay‌ launched seven years ago, in September 2014. Stats show that 93.9% of consumers with ‌Apple Pay‌ activated on their ‌iPhone‌ do not use it to pay for in-store purchases, meaning that only 6.1% actually use the feature.

One year following ‌Apple Pay‌’s launch, a PYMNTS study found that ‌Apple Pay‌ usage weighed in at just 5.1% among those that had the feature activated. This means that ‌Apple Pay‌ usage ticked up by a mere percentage point in six years.

Since 2015, the total amount of ‌Apple Pay‌ transactions at U.S. retail stores has increased from an estimated $5 billion to $90 billion this year.

In 2015, 19% of U.S. merchants were able to accept contactless payments, but in 2021, this rose to 70%. In 2015, only 36% of consumers had an ‌iPhone‌ that offered ‌Apple Pay‌, but now 96% have access to the service. ‌

Apple Pay‌ support from banks has increased nicely, leading to an increase in the number of ‌Apple Pay‌ transactions overall, but the feature still goes unused by the vast majority of users that have the feature enabled.

The main reason behind the lack of usage may be attributed to the continued dominance of plastic cards. In the time since ‌Apple Pay‌’s launch, banks have issued an increasing number of contactless debit and credit cards.

“But to be successful, innovation must solve a problem, fix a source of friction or improve an experience that is so painful that consumers or businesses are motivated to switch,” the report explained.

The study suggested two options for Apple to improve ‌Apple Pay‌ usage:

Path one is for Apple, the smartphone, to take share from Android to make the eligible Apple Pay pie bigger and to ride retail’s continued growth. Currently, Apple has a 52% share of smartphones in the U.S., up from 47% in 2019. That seems hard, if not pretty unlikely.

Path two is for Apple to get more iPhone users to use Apple Pay in the store.

That’s something that Apple has failed to do over the last seven years – including over the last two years, when contactless payment in-store was its (and every Pay’s) oyster.

Seven years in, Apple Pay just hasn’t lived up to its potential for transforming the point-of-sale experience in the store. Maybe there is a grand plan that goes beyond offering users discounts to use it at checkout. But unless it does, its past is likely to be prologue – and its usage will likely be stuck at around 6% of iPhone users who like to wave their phones in the store when they buy.

Apple Pay‌ has generally been the most popular “mobile wallet,” with a 45.5% piece of the mobile wallet market in 2021, beating out competitors such as Samsung Pay, Google Pay, and PayPal.

These findings are based on PYMNTS’ national study of 3,671 U.S. consumers conducted between Aug. 3-10, 2021.