Kenya is leading the world in mobile commerce revolution, which is replacing the traditional mode of payment, says a research released by TNS last week.
The TNS Mobile Life survey found that three quarters 73 per cent of 30 million Kenyan mobile subscribers currently use their handsets to pay for products and services compared to just 15 per cent worldwide.
The numbers have been driven by a large number of M-Pesa, Airtel Money, Orange Money and yuCash subscribers who use their mobile phones in money transfer and banking services.
Mobile wallet, a system of electronic payments that includes use of mobile money as well as cash-loaded swipe cards and cashless payment cards that can be tapped on a vendors mobile phone to register payment.
Mobile money services are key in provision of safe, secure and cheap financial services in a country where many people have no access to formal banking systems.
“So far m-commerce has been largely limited to the purchasing of airtime and utility bill payments but, with new micropayment systems like Lipa na M-Pesa and Beba Pay hitting the market all the time, the system is set to expand with mobile payments for everyday items an ever more convenient option,” read part of the research findings.
The TNS report also notes that mobile phone is changing consumer behaviour with slightly more than 15 million subscribers (53 per cent) of Kenyans saying that they prefer to use their handsets to find information about products and services rather than speak to a salesperson.
Mobile phone-based transactions hit Sh425 billion in the first three months of this year according to a Central Bank report.
READ: Mobile money transfers shoot up despite tax
This was an increase of Sh64.6 billion from a similar period last year. The rise in value of transactions indicates that mobile money continues to grow and has become part and parcel of peoples’ lives.
“Traders need to embrace these developments or risk losing out to the growing trend of ‘show rooming’, in which consumers visit a traditional store to view and test products, but then make their final purchase at cheaper outlets online,” the report noted.
Already, the report adds, more than a quarter of youngsters (26 per cent of those aged 16-21) own up to this kind of behaviour, with numbers likely to expand as advanced mobile services become even more widespread.