Perspective: Smart Phones are the Heart of Universal Commerce

As part of an ongoing global study of the consumer shopping behavior, First Data heard from real consumers about their evolving behaviors. And as we talked to people around the world, we found threads that linked all their stories—all of their expectations revolve around satisfying their needs for convenience.

In our analysis of the data, we discovered that the biggest predictor of behavior and attitudes is whether or not the consumer uses a smart phone. That differentiation is also driven by age, with Millennials (ages 18–34) leading the way, but Millennials are also more likely to own and use a smart phone.

While we see nearly 100% mobile phone penetration among survey respondents, we also see that smart phone penetration varies around the globe, with China (92%), Singapore (89%) and the Middle East (80%) showing highest smart phone penetration. But even in countries later on the smart phone adoption curve, approximately one half already use a smart phone.  In the United States, we see smart phone penetration up to 68%, with large growth in the 55+ age group in the past six months alone.

As a global average, 80% of Millennials use a smart phone, and it’s just a matter of time before the majority of global consumers will be online anytime and anywhere.

Tomorrow, I’ll touch on one way that smart phone adoption is changing behavior.

Larry Drury is the chief marketing officer at First Data.