The total value of mobile money transactions in emerging markets is predicted to exceed $870 billion in 2026; this growth tendency can also be seen in sub-Saharan Africa, where mobile payments are expected to grow by over 60% in the next 5 years. Seen as one of prominent payment trends in emerging markets for 2022, the popularity of mobile payments is emphasizing the importance of Local Payment Methods, and could open up the African market to a number of global e-commerce opportunities.
Mobile payments as a Local Payment Method (LPM) appeared in the sub-Saharan region in the early 2000s with Safaricom, a Kenyan mobile network operator, offering one of the first mobile payment solutions. The importance of this LPM only grew with new players and more regional countries entering the space. While mobile payments were not automatically available to each sub-Saharan country, as some still lacked technical solutions, it has become a widely spread trend that continues appearing in more African countries.
Frank Breuss, CEO of Nikulipe, a Fintech company creating and connecting Local Payment Methods to access Emerging and Fast-Growing Markets, notes that this payment trend has grown popular due to the particular circumstances sub-Saharan Africa is in.
“More than half of the African population remains without a traditional bank account even today, so solutions like mobile payments are most convenient for the region,” explains Breuss. “Mobile phones are widely available across the region, making mobile money payments the primary way for Africans to pay for goods and services like groceries, food delivery or taxi rides, or even utility bills.”
Breuss continues, adding that mobile phones in Africa are used in a very different way than they are in the US or Europe; they are often not based on monthly subscription models, but rather balances are topped up by purchasing prepaid airtime credits, that can be purchased at thousands of shops or agent-kiosks even in the most rural areas.
“This allows people, even those without a bank account or a credit card, to buy phone credits not just to make calls, but also to top-up their phone to pay local merchants for goods and services—logistically, it’s the simplest and most convenient LPM to use. Knowing all of this, understanding why mobile payments are popular in this region can, in turn, open up more global e-commerce opportunities for both international merchants and African shoppers, looking to shop more globally.”
Since much of Africa’s population has limited access to financial services, the continent is regarded as one of the world’s most attractive banking opportunities for developing the existing financial industry and introducing new products to improve financial accessibility. After previously disregarding mobile money’s target market in favor of Africans with higher income, Africa’s traditional banks are, too, looking into entering telecommunications territory. This move by local banking institutions indicates that the mobile payments market will continue growing in the upcoming years.
While mobile payment penetration varies from one sub-Saharan African country to another, at the end of 2020, 495 million people were using mobile services, which represents 46% of the region’s population. It is predicted that by 2025 this number will reach 615 million—equivalent to 50% of the region’s population. This shows that Local Payment Methods will remain an important part of not only sub-Saharan Africa’s but also fast-growing and emerging markets e-commerce growth.
Soft POS User Base to Grow 475% Globally by 2027
The total number of merchants deploying soft POS solutions will surpass 34.5 million globally by 2027
A new study from Juniper Research has found the total number of merchants deploying soft POS solutions will surpass 34.5 million globally by 2027; rising from 6 million in 2022. This growth will be driven by Apple’s entrance into the soft POS space; enabling iOS users to access an affordable mobile POS solution.
Soft POS enables NFC enabled smartphones or tablets to accept contactless payments, without additional hardware.
1.2 Billion iOS Users Added to Soft POS Market
The research forecasts that Apple’s decision to enable third parties to develop soft POS solutions leveraging iOS NFC capabilities will result in an influx of iOS-specific services; leading to innovative solutions for merchants. Furthermore, the research predicts Apple’s entry will provide 1.2 billion iOS users with soft POS capabilities; unlocking a previously untapped market.
Soft POS is the latest development from Apple within the payments space; building upon Apple Pay and Apple Pay Later. Soft POS vendors should leverage Apple’s payment ecosystem by developing innovative solutions such as integrated QR payment acceptance, using Apple Pay and Pay Later compatibility to attract a broader iOS user base.
Increasing Contactless Payment Adoption to Drive Soft POS Uptake
The research anticipates soft POS adoption being driven by the increasing use of contactless payments – with volumes expected to rise from 195 billion in 2022 to 408 billion by 2027. Therefore, consumers will come to expect contactless acceptance as standard; forcing smaller merchants to adopt contactless-capable POS solutions. Merchants are anticipated to embrace soft POS, based on cost savings achievable from eliminating the need for additional hardware, as well as mobility advantages over contactless POS.
This will be profound for small-sum and mobile merchants that must accept contactless transactions, but lack the need for high-cost dedicated terminals. As such, the research recommends soft POS vendors must look to target micro and mobile merchants; designing solutions that meet their unique needs.
Buy Now Pay Later Users to Reach Over 900 Million Globally by 2027
Buy Now Pay Later users will surpass 900 million globally by 2027; increasing from 360 million in 2022.
A new study from Juniper Research has predicted that the number of BNPL (Buy Now Pay Later) users will surpass 900 million globally by 2027; increasing from 360 million in 2022. This substantial growth of 157% will be driven by the anticipated economic downturn, which will increase the demand for low-cost credit solutions.
BNPL schemes enable consumers to spread the cost of their purchases without interest charges; making them a highly attractive alternative to credit cards. Additionally, BNPL services do not require hard credit checks and an increasing number of merchants are accepting this payment method; making it easier to access for consumers than traditional credit.
India to Experience High User Growth
The research identified India as having potential for rapid growth in BNPL, with users predicted to grow from 25 million in 2022 to 116 million by 2027. This is due to rising eCommerce usage and growing interest in international goods available through online retailers. In turn, it recommends that vendors build strategic partnerships with vendors in developing markets with established consumer bases, to successfully capitalise on this user growth and associated revenue.
Virtual Cards to Further Boost Usage
The research predicts that the adoption of virtual cards, where digital only cards are used for purchases, will increase the usage of BNPL solutions, as they only require merchants to accept card payments – overcoming previous limitations on growth. The advancement of virtual cards allows BNPL schemes to compete with credit cards; particularly in-store, where single use BNPL cards can be used within a digital wallet to complete contactless transactions.
Juniper Research recommends that in order to compete in this highly competitive landscape, BNPL vendors must differentiate their services: including offering virtual cards, browser extensions that automatically facilitate BNPL payment services, and digital loyalty schemes.
Digital Wallet Users to Exceed 5.2 Billion Globally by 2026
The total number of digital wallet users will exceed 5.2 billion globally in 2026, up from 3.4 billion in 2022.
A new study from Juniper Research has found that the total number of digital wallet users will exceed 5.2 billion globally in 2026, up from 3.4 billion in 2022; representing strong growth of over 53%. The research predicts that the presence of ‘superapps’ will drive digital wallet use in developing countries that are currently considered cash heavy.
Superapps are multipurpose apps able to integrate digital payments alongside other services, including wealth management and eCommerce.
Asia Pacific Countries to Experience Rapid Growth
The study identified three countries in Asia Pacific primed for rapid growth over the next four years:
It predicts that the adoption of digital wallets will near 75% of the population in each of these countries by 2026. It cited the rising access to online and mobile commerce services as driving forces behind the use of digital wallets, notably through superapps.
Research co-author Damla Sat explained: “These rapidly growing markets represent a significant opportunity for digital wallet vendors, but they must work intelligently to maximise their position. A highly competitive wallets’ landscape means that vendors must differentiate themselves by integrating machine learning to provide spending insights and introduce new services such as wealth management to add value.”
Innovation Needed for Future QR Payments Growth
Additionally, the research identified QR code payments as the most popular digital wallet transaction type in 2026; reaching 380 billion transactions globally, and accounting for over 40% of all transactions by volume. However, as usage within markets including China and India reaches its apex, vendors must innovate to remain competitive entering new geographic markets. Therefore, the research recommends that QR code payment vendors integrate loyalty features and personalised marketing capabilities to incentivise merchant acceptance, which will be critical to driving adoption.
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