Seven years post-launch, new PYMNTS data shows that 93.9% of consumers with Apple Pay activated on their iPhones do not use it in-store to pay for purchases.
That means only 6.1% do.
The survey was conducted between Aug. 3-10, 2021, 3,671 U.S. consumers.
Apple Pay’s adoption and usage isn’t much larger than it was 2015 (5.1%), a year after its launch, and is the same as it was in 2019, the last full year before the pandemic.
Does this mean Apple Pay usage is saturated? The folks who are going to use it are using it?
The growth in total Apple Pay transactions since 2015 has come almost entirely from more stores having contactless terminals to accept it, more people having new iPhones that can use it, and the overall growth in retail transactions.
And almost none of that growth comes from more iPhone users wanting to use it instead of plastic cards.
Pulling out that credit card is a tough habit to break. I think it’ll take a much bigger marketing push from Apple to change that ingrained behavior. Some sort of carrot, even a temporary one.
For example, when Apple Card came out, it offered a 3% discount if I used the card on any Apple purchases. That’s a solid discount, more than any other card in my wallet, and I was able to set it and forget it for all my monthly Apple services payments (iCloud usage, Apple TV bundle, etc.) That carrot got me into the habit.
Apple does offer regular Apple Pay promo discounts, but none of them are regular enough (at least in my spending patterns) to pull me in, to cement the habit.
If I was a regular subway rider, that’d do it. Or if my favorite restaurants offered an Apple Pay discount, that’d do it too.
I actually love the Apple Watch Apple Pay experience. Maybe once (and if) we’re ever able to move past masks, Apple Pay will start to grow again.