Almost 80% of iPhone users with access to Apple Pay have never tried it

Posted by Rurik Bradbury on March 5, 2015


New research suggests that, despite upbeat stances from Apple and banks, very few people use Apple Pay on a regular basis. Here at Trustev we surveyed 1000 US-based owners of modern iPhones (models 6 or 6+), the precise audience with access to the feature, and found very low adoption:

  • 79% of iPhone 6 or 6+ users have never used Apple Pay at all
  • 21% of users have tried the service once or more

Among the people who have tried it out, Apple Pay is not used very often. Within that 21% who have tried it:

  • 80% still use cards or cash for the vast majority of payments, using Apple Pay three times per week or less; the bulk of these (62% out of the 80%) use Apple Pay either not at all or once in a typical week.
  • 30% of people have stopped using it altogether: they now use it “never” in an average week
  • Only 2.1% of people are “super-users” who use it 10 times or more a week.

Apple hasn’t said much about its new payments system. Apple CEO Tim Cook said it saw 1 million activations in the first 72 hours back in late October, while Chase announced a few days ago that it had 1 million cards on Apple Pay.  But the companies have not divulged usage details, and just because people add cards to their digital wallets doesn’t mean they use the wallet to purchase goods.

Pat Phelan, the CEO of Trustev, said: “Apple Pay is a great system: secure, elegant and convenient. But the slow adoption shows how difficult it is to get consumers to change well-entrenched habits, like paying with card swipes. Of course, it is early days, more merchants are coming on board, and I’m sure we’ll see adoption grow, but the initial reception has been slow.”

He added: “It also points to a broader issue: maybe paying with cards is just not that painful. For years, techies have been pitching e-wallets to consumers, but they don’t seem interested. Even after Apple has launched by far the most elegant version to date, consumer adoption is light.”

Why aren’t people using it?

The vast majority of iPhone 6/6+ users we surveyed didn’t use Apple Pay, however.

  •       50% of early and average adopters said they didn’t care about the feature
  •       34% of late adopters didn’t know about the feature
  •       Most groups didn’t care about merchant acceptance -- only 19% of ultra-,early adopters said that’s why they didn’t use Apple Pay

For people who do use it, what’s the reason?

Of those who do use Apple Pay, convenience of paying is cited as the major reason.

  •       63% of users said they used Apple pay for its convenience
  •       Around 40% cited the “cool factor” as their reason for using it
  •       Security and the ability to leave one’s wallet at home were in 3rd and 4th place, respectively

One surprise? Middle-aged people are the biggest users

Apple Pay’s biggest age demographic is 35-54, where several percentage points above other demographics in terms of usage. The 18-24 age bracket had the highest non-adoption percentage -- perhaps because you need a debit or credit card in order to use Apple Pay.

There wasn’t a big split in demographics -- adoption was split between men and women, though men use Apple Pay more frequently and prefer in-store purchases. We also surveyed the group’s fashion preferences to see if they were more “hipster,” “business casual/preppy,” or “formal business” focused, but it seems that Apple Pay adoption is spread out somewhat evenly between the groups. 

In-app or in-store?

Usage is split fairly evenly among physical in-store payments and online in-app payments. 7.7% of modern iPhone users have used it in a store, 6.8% have used it both in-store and in-app, and 6.6% have used it for in-app purchases only.

Topics: Apple Pay, m-commerce