Mobile payments driving global m-commerce adoption

JAN 23,2014

MEF’s 13-country Mobile Money Insight Report reveals global consumer trends and behaviours in m-payments and m-banking


- Africa continues to dominate mobile banking uptake with an average of 82 per cent of consumers engaged in this activity (globally it’s 66 per cent).  

15 per cent of mobile media users used mobile payments to pay for goods in 2013.

Mobile money users are 26 per cent more likely to buy via mobile than average.

- Network speed is important: two thirds of 4G customers have made an m-payment.

MEF, the global community for mobile content and commerce today released the first report in its Global Consumer Insights Series on Mobile Money.  The report analyses data from 10,000 respondents in 13 countries, highlighting regional & global trends in mobile money uptake and how it is stimulating growth across the mobile value chain.  

In 2013, 15 per cent of mobile media users made some form of mobile payment to make a purchase. The largest group of these users (7 per cent of the total sample) did so via a mobile wallet, especially those based on Near Field Communications (NFC) technology.

The report, carried out in partnership with On Device Research, highlights the importance of mobile money users to the overall m-commerce market, as this group is 26 per cent more likely to purchase via mobile. Globally, 91 per cent made some form of mobile purchase in 2013 as opposed to 65 per cent of all mobile consumers.


Mobile money users also spend more on individual purchases. They are 10 per cent less likely to make low value payments and 14 per cent more likely to make mid-value purchases.

And mobile money users don’t just buy more than the average mobile user. They do more of everything. They are 12% more likely to scan barcodes, 11% more likely to make charitable donations and 10% more likely to use location based services.

MEF’s Mobile Money consumer insight report suggests that mobile banking is already mainstream in many regions, but for different reasons. In the US, UK and China the use of mobile apps for checking balances and paying bills is commonplace. Whereas in Africa handsets are used to send airtime to other users, transfer funds and seek credit.

In Africa, the ‘mobile-only’ culture means the mobile money account is the bank account. Globally, 66 per cent of mobile media users use some form of mobile banking. In Kenya, for example, it’s 92 per cent.

The study also reveals the importance of network speed to the uptake of mobile money. A quarter of users claim they don’t make mobile payments because ‘the network is too slow’. That might help explain why fewer than one in seven mobile media users have made some form of mobile payment.

Conversely, those connected to super-speedy 4G networks are much more engaged: almost two in three (64 per cent) have made a mobile payment.

Rimma Perelmuter, CEO at MEF said: “Our 2014 Mobile Money Insight Report clearly highlights that early adopters of mobile money are key to accelerating the growth of mobile commerce.  This is true both in terms of their propensity to spend more on individual purchases and their likelihood to engage with a wider array of mobile services. In many markets, mobile money has already hit the mainstream, with Africa leading the way. Faster mobile networks will only advance its adoption further worldwide.”

Mobile money is a key focus for MEF in 2014 with member-driven initiatives that will help drive best practice for accelerating market adoption of mobile commerce and mobile money solutions.

About MEF
MEF is the global community for mobile content and commerce. It is the leading trade organisation for companies wishing to monetize their goods, services and digital products via the mobile connected device.  MEF provides competitive advantage to its diverse membership, shapes industry growth, connects thought leaders and spearheads groundbreaking initiatives which explore and promote monetization opportunities.


With global headquarters in London and operational chapters and offices in Africa, Asia, EMEA, Latin America Middle East and North America, MEF is a member network with global reach and strong local representation, ideally placed to drive market growth. Established in 2000, MEF provides an impartial, consistent and powerful voice for the foremost companies and entrepreneurs from across the mobile content and commerce value chain.