Payments in Focus Insight that keeps you ahead of change

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Trends Shaping 2019 Global Commerce

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Often in the most economically competitive times, great innovations are born. While new disruptors and established players continue to battle it out across a range of industries, the upside for the year ahead will likely be the next generation of innovations that will set the direction of change for the next 10 years.

Digital giants like Alibaba, Tencent, Apple, Google and Amazon are changing the industries where they choose to compete. They’re resetting consumer expectations around what a great shopping experience enabled through technology looks like.

In 2019, businesses of all sizes will need to constantly evaluate how they adapt to ever-changing consumer expectations and adopt new technologies that eliminate the lines of distinction between online and offline. Welcome to global commerce in 2019, where unified experiences are now table stakes.

Mobile Payments Evolution Becomes Revolution

The war on cash has been raging for more than 50 years. As many as 30 percent of Americans are not using cash during a typical week[1], up nearly six percent from just three years ago. While cards are a mainstay of most consumers purses and wallets serving to displace cash, mobile payments are seeing a slow and steady increase in adoption. Contactless payments such as Google Pay and Apple Pay, according to industry research are growing at a compound annual growth rate of nearly 31 percent[2].

2019 will also see a rise in contactless cards arriving in the United States[3]. Consumers will finally have ample opportunity to flex that muscle memory of “tap and pay.” As that simple behavior is exercised and becomes preferred, the trend toward faster, more secure and more frictionless commerce will continue to accelerate. I have observed this same trend in many of the markets we serve and expect to see similar uptake in the US.

2019 will also see a rise in contactless cards arriving in the United States. Consumers will finally have ample opportunity to flex that muscle memory of tap and pay.

Chinese E-wallet Models Signal a Tech Shift for Developed Markets

In the U.S., only about 25 percent of consumers have used alternative payment methods[4], while only 12 percent trust them. In China, by contrast, the number of e-wallet users jumps to 49 percent[5]. This year we’ll see a stronger uptick in the adoption of alternative payment methods in developed markets like Canada, the U.S. and U.K. as the wallets from Alipay and WeChat look to expand[6] and incumbents look to mimic the success of the innovators from Asia. One of the primary reasons? The rollout of Rich Communication Services (RCS) and other improved protocols to markets around the world will usher in a wave of innovation starting in 2019.

The rollout of Rich Communication Services (RCS) and other improved protocols to markets around the world will usher in a wave of innovation starting in 2019.

RCS will take texting to the next level, enabling more engaging interactions than SMS with full multimedia support. Over 50 operators, 12 OEMs, Google and Microsoft currently or will soon support the protocol[7]; and the rich, conversational interactions that RCS supports will drive considerable focus and investment in 2019.

While there is still a question of how rapidly the market will evolve, businesses will soon have an additional platform through which to engage with customers.

Unified Commerce Becomes Table Stakes

In 2019, “omnichannel” will officially become old-school, and the era of what Global Payments calls “unified commerce” truly begins.

In 2019, omnichannel will officially become old-school, and the era of what Global Payments calls unified commerce truly begins.

Unified experiences extend well beyond supporting both online and offline commerce. Today’s consumers expect seamless experiences[8] powered by mobile ordering, in-store pickup of online orders and using a mobile device in-store to shop, browse and learn about products. Business expectations have changed as well, driving demand for a single settlement statement across all channels, simple integrations between payment activity and financial reporting and a common, holistic view of customer behaviors across channels worldwide.

Each of these and other changes transforming global commerce require organizations to stay nimble and offer customer experiences that are unique and easy. Here at Global Payments we see 2019 as a revolutionary year ushering in a more unified and democratized era where businesses can reach more consumers than ever, and on their terms. Global Payments is leveraging our technology-enabled assets, our global footprint and our 50+ years of experience, to lead the industry and serve our customers toward this goal.


References & Footnotes

  1. Andrew Perrin, More Americans are making no weekly purchases with cash
  2. 451 Research, 451 Research’s Global Unified Commerce Forecast Uncovers Dramatic Shifts In Consumer Spending Patterns
  3. Financial Times, Rise in contactless cards arriving in the United States
  4. Jessica Dickler, Digital wallets are safe, yet Americans remain wary
  5. PYMNTS, PPRO: The 10 Fastest Growing Global eCommerce Markets
  6. Chuck Chiang, Alipay’s Vancouver head office scores major advances in Canada
  7. Peter Sarnoff, Verizon will begin supporting new messaging standards in 2019
  8. Kathleen Egan, Brick-and-Mortar Retailers’ Secret Weapon: Unified Commerce