Growing Mobile POS Market

by Raymond Pucci 0

Hands holding credit card and using laptop

No surprise—but the mobile POS market is growing and driving sales of in-store devices able to handle the transactions. Mobile POS devices typically are supplementing rather than replacing traditional POS terminals and offer an alternative and secure payment method.

The number of installed mobile POS units is growing rapidly.

Mobile POS devices surpassed 6 million units worldwide by the end of 2015, according to new research from IHL Group. The number of installed units grew by 64% during the year.

The vast majority of these units are being used in retailers below 50 stores in their chain. However, IHL reports it is beginning to see an uptick in enterprise mobile POS retail accounts.

Looking at retail verticals most likely to implement mobile POS, IHL found that shipments to department stores grew at the fastest rate at 107% worldwide. Meanwhile, restaurants and other hospitality establishments (90%) and specialty stores (70%) also saw significant growth in mobile POS shipments during 2015.

According to analysis from IHL, mobile POS technology is having a dramatic impact on traditional cash registers and POS at the small-to-mid-sized retailer level, most often being used as pure replacements. Among larger enterprise retail accounts, however, the vast majority of units are being deployed as additional points of purchase for customers rather than as replacements for traditional POS.

IHL also identifies two primary barriers to full widespread adoption in the enterprise, particularly in North America, These are the move to EMV and the priority of aligning systems within Unified Commerce, which is a real-time store environment that uses a cloud-based infrastructure to lessen reliance on hardware such as fixed POS terminals. IHL says Unified Commerce is by far the largest area of spend for most retailers.

Near field communication (NFC) enabled smartphones used in Apple, Android, and Samsung Pay are in common use by consumers, but merchants have been slow to embrace mobile POS, mainly due to cost and staff training issues. Given the slow transition to EMV and well publicized card security issues, mobile POS’s growth should continue despite the merchant limitations.

Overview by Raymond Pucci, Associate Director, Research Services at Mercator Advisory Group

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