China, Norway & United Kingdom Lead The Way For Mobile Pay

China, Norway & United Kingdom Lead The Way For Mobile Pay
  • 47% of Chinese phone users have previously paid using mobile wallets
  • Apple Pay used by over a quarter of iphone owners, higher than Android and Samsung Pay
  • WeChat Pay boasts 600 million users more than Apple, Android and Samsung combined

In 2014, Apple launched their first mobile payment app, followed by Samsung and Android a year later. By 2022, it’s estimated that the transaction value of payment apps will reach nearly $14 trillion illustrating the fast-pace of the industry. Payment apps have been adopted quicker in China than anywhere else, but which countries are catching up in the market?

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Merchant account and card payment fee comparison service Merchant Machine have collated the facts and figures behind mobile wallet’s to give a landscape of one of the fastest moving technology markets in the world. The research looks at usage across countries, ages and different mobile wallets. Some of the key findings are outlined below:

Mobile-Savvy Nations

A country is often defined by their attitude towards technology as it often advances them as a society. In the mobile wallet market, these are the places whose residence have adopted Apple, Android and many other payment apps the fastest.

  • China - WeChat pay and Alipay are the two dominant payment platforms in a country with the highest GDP, making their market share all the more valuable. It’s estimated that 47% of phone owners use mobile wallets
  • Norway -  Scandinavian nations are revered for their innovative societies, and their payment methods mirror this opinion. At 42% usage, mobile wallet usage is higher proportionally in Norway than in any other European nation.
  • United Kingdom - The convenience of mobile wallets could well have contributed to the popularity in the UK with 24% of phone users using payment apps, placing them in 3rd place.
  • Japan - Much like China, the advancement of the tech industry in Japan has often been mirrored by its inhabitants. This is no different when it comes to the adoption of mobile wallets, with an estimated ⅕ of smartphone owners using digital wallets.
  • Australia - Our research has found phone users down under are opting for the convenience more than many other international counterparts. With 19% using mobile wallets, they rank 5th above of the likes of USA and Singapore.

Across the Ages

Different age demographics adopt technology at different paces, particularly when it comes to mobile wallets. We’ve researched the attitudes of different age groups and whether they have or want a payment app on their phone.

  • Young Guns - The 18-34 bracket unsurprisingly takes top spot when it comes to both interest and usage of mobile wallets. Just under half of smartphone users in this demographic have a mobile wallet, with 32% stating that their interested by the idea of one.
  • Post Millennials - Venturing up the age groups one might expect to see a drastic decrease in mobile wallet usage, but it’s been found that 44% of 35-44 smartphone users have a mobile wallet, with just under a quarter uninterested by the app.
  • Older Generations - It appears that generations are becoming more and more tech-savvy every day. Just under 30% of those surveyed between the ages of 55-64 claimed to have a mobile wallet, with a further 27% saying that they are attracted by the prospect of using one.

Who’s Using What?

Mobile payments are used every day by millions of people, but what apps have become the most popular since their introduction? As always, there seems to be an endless competition between Apple and Android, but how is this reflected in the digital wallet industry?

  • Apple Pay All Day - Following its introduction, 36% of iPhone users had set up Apple Pay on their phone. In 2017, it was estimated that 87 million people used the app worldwide.
  • Sad for Samsung - Last year, Apple Pay exceeded Samsung Pay’s global reach by over double with only 34 million users. Even worse was the figures shown on the graphic that Samsung Pay actually dropped in usage in the first two years of it’s introduction by 4%.
  • WeChat Pay Winners - In terms of mobile payment platforms, it is Chinese company WeChat Pay that leads the way. Their 600 million users outrank many of their competitors combined. Fellow Chinese platform Alipay also performs well, with an estimated 400 million users in 2017.

Ian Wright from Merchant Machine stated that ‘It’s inevitable that digital wallets are continuing to soar in popularity and this research only furthers this argument. With the well-established customer-base in China and other Asian countries combined with the rising popularity of mobile pay in the US and UK, one can only imagine where this industry is headed’.

To take a closer look at the past, present and future of the mobile wallet industry worldwide then you can view the full infographic here.

mobile wallets

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Jacob Wolinsky is the founder of, a popular value investing and hedge fund focused investment website. Jacob worked as an equity analyst first at a micro-cap focused private equity firm, followed by a stint at a smid cap focused research shop. Jacob lives with his wife and four kids in Passaic NJ. - Email: jacob(at) - Twitter username: JacobWolinsky - Full Disclosure: I do not purchase any equities anymore to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest and because at times I may receive grey areas of insider information. I have a few existing holdings from years ago, but I have sold off most of the equities and now only purchase mutual funds and some ETFs. I also own a few grams of Gold and Silver

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