Non-NFC mobile transactions to hit $1.6 billion this year

According to new data from ABI Research, in 2009 the value of mobile commerce transacted via non-near field communication (non-NFC) methods will total $1.6 billion, while mobile commerce conducted via NFC will be minimal.

Mark Beccue, ABI Research senior analyst, said: “Mobile internet shopping is the largest piece of the action. Thanks to red hot smartphone adoption, an increasing number of subscribers are shopping at mobile commerce sites such as Amazon and eBay.”

There are two main mobile commerce technology camps, of NFC, and the rest; methods based on non-NFC technologies such as SMS, mobile Internet, and mobile applications. The development of the NFC market has not met early expectations, a failure, says ABI Research practice director Dan Shey, not of technology, but of unclear business models. Non-NFC platforms aim to fill this gap.

Commented Shey: “NFC is the holy grail that provides the easiest user experience. Other methods require more work and expertise from the consumer. The question is will the NFC market respond to these alternatives and get organised, or will it continue on its own path?”

Demand for these services and related mobile money services, such as banking, domestic person-to-person payments and international remittances, is undeniable, although its drivers differ around the world. Industrialised regions’ customers are becoming comfortable with using their mobile phones for more than just traditional communications. In the developing world, mobile money services have promise as an alternative to scarce financial institutions for money transfers, and as ways to reach the previously unbanked.