The arrival of personal computers in homes and the launch of companies, such as Amazon.com, Alibaba Group and eBay, in the 1990s acquainted consumers to the new concept of shopping online.
The popularization of smartphones within the last decade then introduced consumers to anytime, anywhere commerce.
Technology has reinvented commerce. It changed what consumers expect to experience in physical retail and foodservice outlets. It opened the door to new ways of engaging with brands across the path to purchase.
It altered the role the payments industry plays in the transaction. A report by Michelle Evans, the Global Head of Digital Consumer Research at Euromonitor International, takes a deep dive into three of the most impactful technology-driven trends reshaping payments.
New payment forms emerging
Digital commerce is no longer restricted to computers or smartphones. There are now a plethora of things, including connected devices, appliances, devices, clothing, fashion accessories and sensors, all with the potential to disrupt commerce and usher in new payment form factors.
Consumers also are shifting from type to voice interfaces with personal assistants powered by the established smartphone and emerging wireless speaker categories driving this uptake.
Euromonitor International estimates that nearly 81 million wireless speakers, such as Amazon Echo, will be sold globally in 2017, with that category expected to expand 84% from 2017 to 2021.
As a result, payments are becoming more of a commodity in the commerce experience. Consumers expect frictionless checkout experiences combined with the same level of security across all devices as exists today with other more established payment forms.
Artificial intelligence’s big day
While companies have been collecting petabytes of data for years, the reality is that most struggle to make sense of it all. At its lowest common denominator, artificial intelligence (AI), allows brands to better synthesize data and incorporate those learnings to improve the commerce experience.
AI, which refers to technologies capable of performing tasks normally requiring human intelligence, goes back centuries. While AI technologies were commercially available by the 1980s, it was not until the turn of this century that the emerging machine intelligence trend truly took off.
Now the confluence of three powerful drivers, including exponential data growth, more sophisticated distribution networks and smarter algorithms, have propelled artificial intelligence to the center stage.
Artificial intelligence is likely to transform many industries in the next decade, including payments.
Chinese wallets moving west
Within the last decade, smartphones emerged as a must-have device for consumers globally. The first mobile-centric nation was China. For the first time in 2015, Chinese consumers made more purchases through mobile phones than computers.
As of 2016, two-thirds of digital purchases were mobile based, according to the latest data from Euromonitor International. Players like Alipay and WeChat, which offer Chinese consumers a lifestyle-driven app with commerce capabilities, are powering many of these transactions in China and now increasingly abroad.
These Chinese wallets are moving west as the spending power of its residents grow and the government improves international cooperation allowing consumers to travel to more nations.
Chinese residents are expected to take 225 million international trips in 2030, growing at 7.3% compound annual growth rate over 2016-2030, according to Euromonitor International.