Contactless payments win out among health and safety concerns

The contactless payment landscape is one that has benefited from the growing health concerns across the globe, according to new analysis from global digital business transformation consultancy Publicis Sapient.

The consulting firm surveyed more than 3,000 people across five key global markets – the UK, US, Canada, Australia and Singapore – to get an idea of how Covid-19 has affected consumer preferences and behavior. Not surprisingly, health and safety has become a key consideration.

The natural reaction for most has been to turn online for their purchasing needs, be it for groceries or other products. Publicis Sapient reports that more than 70% of consumers across these markets have shopped more online in the last three months than they usually do, and nearly half reported that this will continue for the foreseeable future.

Online shopping has increased under Covid-19

At the same time, restrictions are being lifted in countries across the globe, and visiting public places is gradually starting to normalize. As people brave crowded areas, Publicis Sapient notes that they remain wary of infection risks, with many placing health and safety conditions as a top priority when venturing out.

In fact, across six different categories of public places – grocery retailers, regular retailers, restaurants, hotels, airlines and airports – well over 70% of consumers placed health and safety among their top three considerations when choosing a brand. This figure shoots past 90% when choosing airlines, and goes up to 99% when choosing airports.

So consumers prefer public places that have adequate health and safety measures in place, although they still attempt to minimize their interaction with the environment. This is evident from the number of people that put the option of contactless payments among their top priorities when choosing a public place – a figure that amounts to nearly two-thirds of all respondents according to Publicis Sapient.

Health & Safety and contactless payments are top factors in brand choices

As a result, the contactless payments landscape – already on course for significant growth – has received a considerable boost under the circumstances. There are some variations based on individual markets, which could be significant for players in the payments landscape.

For instance, consumers in Singapore are most likely to opt for the contactless option whenever its on offer, followed by Australia and Canada. Consumers in the US are least likely to do so, which could be attributed to the relatively recent roll out of contactless payments in the country.

Also significant for the payments sector is the variety in the choice of contactless payments. The vast majority opt for tap-to-pay credit cards, while Apple Pay and Google Pay follow as popular payment options, although the latter has interestingly seen a year-on-year decline in usage. Apple Pay has seen a 6% jump year-on-year, while Samsung Pay has also seen a marginal increase in usage.

Popular types of contactless payments

Given that new consumer priorities are expected to persist indefinitely, the shift to contactless presents a significant opportunity in the payments landscape. Publicis Sapient suggests that this new reality is here to stay, and that there are widespread possibilities in this regard.

“These findings suggest that the move away from cash is solidifying. Contactless technology will be expected and will continue to shape the future of travel and dining, providing safer ways for guests to interact, while further integrating digital tools into new experiences,” said the firm in a statement.

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