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Why Apple Pay is like the Ice Bucket Challenge

April 30, 2015

Apple Pay helped make mobile payments popular. 

Sometimes, it takes one person or organization to make something popular and then it goes mainstream. Consider the example of the Ice Bucket Challenge. Also known as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, the activity, which was meant to promote awareness of Lou Gehrig’s Disease, involved dumping ice water on one’s head and posting a video to social media. The trend became popular during July and August of 2014.

Before the year was over, countless people had dumped ice water on their heads and donated money to the ALS Association. The popularity of the Ice Bucket Challenge demonstrates that when something becomes popular, it spreads fast. Apple Pay had the same effect on the technology industry that the Ice Bucket Challenge had on social media. After Apple introduced their product to the market, other companies rushed to follow suit.  

Survey indicates that Apple Pay is becoming more popular with consumers
While Apple Pay does not have anything to do with ALS, ice or buckets, the technology had a similar effect on the mobile payment space. Apple introduced the service to the market, and other technology companies were quick to either create or update their own comparable products, hoping to join in on the trend.

Apple Pay was launched almost almost six months ago, and since then, the technology has become very popular. A survey of 4,168 North American respondents, conducted by 451 Research, found that consumers held the product, and others, in high esteem, reported RetailSolutionsOnline. The survey organization asked respondents about planned use of mobile payments over the next 90 days and found that consumers were highly interested in the technology.

Approximately 25 percent of smartphone owners indicated that they would most likely use a mobile payment app, 11 percent said they were very likely, and 14 percent were somewhat likely, noted the news source. Comparing the results with the a similar survey conducted last year showed a six-point increase. Andy Golub, Survey Research Director, explained that the trend supports the idea that people will continue to use mobile payments in the future.

“Our latest survey shows planned use of Apple Pay has been on an upward trajectory since it became available six months ago – with the service helping to spark consumer demand for mobile payment technologies,” said Golub, according to RetailSolutionsOnline. “Although consumer perceptions of security remain an issue, the results point to marked improvements in this area.”

Apple Pay helped inspire technology companies to develop their own apps
RetailSolutionsOnline also mentioned that the survey looked at rates of satisfaction for other mobile payment apps. Apple Pay enjoyed a 66 percent rate of customer satisfaction, PayPal had 45 percent and Google Wallet came in with 33 percent. It is important to emphasize that the introduction of Apple Pay actually spawned significant interest in mobile payments. Technology companies moved quickly to either introduce or update their own systems, following the release. Jordan McKee, senior mobile payments analyst at 451 Research, explained how Apple Pay had an effect on the market.

“The introduction of Apple Pay has catalyzed a wave of strategic moves across the mobile payments ecosystem,” said McKee, according to the news source. “In the wake of Apple’s entrance, Google and PayPal have made significant acquisitions, while players such as Facebook and Samsung are rolling out payment products to remain competitive. Moving forward, the pace of activity will only accelerate as vendors look to capitalize on the growing contactless payments infrastructure and secure a foothold in this rapidly evolving sector.”

No technology company left behind in mobile payments
According to Bidness, even Microsoft, which has been late to the mobile payments game, is introducing their own product. While the company’s product will not compete directly with apps developed by Apple, Samsung or Google, it is interesting to see that, when it comes to this trend, no technology company wants to be left behind. A release date for Microsoft’s product has still not been set.

Ultimately, Apple Pay is poised to become the preeminent mobile payment service, but its effect on the market cannot be measured simply by looking at customer satisfaction or usage rates. The fact is, just like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, Apple’s product has caused a stir. Technology companies are all dumping figurative buckets of ice water on their heads and entering the mobile payments space. The popularization of certain trends usually means that they will continue to influence society for some time. This summer, it is likely that social media users will be dumping ice water on their heads for a different social cause, or perhaps they may do something entirely new. Likewise, in coming months, technology companies will continue to develop and market mobile payment services to consumers, proving that popularity does not fade so quickly.

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