Starbucks app beats Apple Pay in US mobile payment market


Well, well, well. No one saw this coming. The Most Popular Mobile Payment App isn’t Apple Pay, It’s Starbucks. As per the market research firm eMarketer, Starbucks has 23.4 million active users.

According to market research firm eMarketer, ages 14 and up will use the Starbucks app to make an in-store purchase at least once every six months in 2018—which means it has more users than the more well-known mobile payment products like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay.

With Starbucks registering high numbers of about 23.4 million users, Apple Pay comes closest with 22 million users, followed by Google Pay with 11.1 million consumers and Samsung Pay with 9.9 million.

EMarketer expects the rankings to remain unchanged through 2022 in part because Starbucks will maintain its lead thanks to the value its app brings customers. It also estimates that Starbucks might hit the 30 million mark in U.S. users by 2022. Apple Pay is predicted to follow behind at 27.5 million users, Google Pay will stay in third with 14.9 million users, and Samsung Pay will lag behind with 13.2 million.

starbucks payment app

eMarketer forecasting analyst Cindy Liu said that the reason behind Starbucks app gaining traction is because it is tied to its rewards program. Starbucks Rewards members receive two stars for every $1 spent, which can be redeemed for free food and drinks, as well as birthday rewards and free in-store refills, in addition to the ability to order ahead and pay by phone.

“For users of the app, the value of paying with their smartphone is clear and simple—you can save time and money at the register, all while racking up rewards and special offers,” Lui added.

Starbucks rolled out mobile payments in all U.S. 2011 for BlackBerry smartphones and iPhone and iPod touch mobile devices. Back at that time, Starbucks said customers loaded more than $1.5 billion on Starbucks, under their reward program which exists till now.

eMarketer also claimed that Samsung Pay is in the most widely accepted payment system, usable by around 80 percent of merchants. However, being strictly restricted to Samsung devices limits its utility. On the other hand, Apple Pay is said to be accepted at more than half of US merchants. Also, Starbucks app only works for in-store purchases and pick-up orders at Starbucks stores, not with other retailers, whereas Apple Pay and other platforms are available for use in a far larger number of outlets.

The Starbucks app is available on both iOS and Android devices, unlike Apple Pay’s in-store component being limited to iPhones, Google Pay to Android devices, and Samsung Pay only to Samsung-produced smartphones.

Apple is cementing Apple Pay’s position as the main mobile payments platform by expanding the service to include cards from more banks, both in the United States and abroad. Apple CEO Tim Cook claimed that Apple Pay has doubled its global active users year-on-year.

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