Buyer PaymentsInsights – Payments Behavior: Younger Shoppers Leading a Change


New survey reveals the growing importance of mobile devices in the consumer shopping experience.

The second report from Mercator Advisory Group’s 2020 Buyer PaymentsInsights Survey focuses on consumers’ payment preferences and spending.

Author: Peter Reville
Published on: October 30, 2020

Mercator Advisory Group’s latest Primary Data report, Buyer PaymentsInsights – Payments Behavior: Younger Shoppers Leading a Change, is based on the company’s 2020 Buyer PaymentsInsights Survey. The online survey of 3,000 U.S. adult consumers, which was conducted in February 2020 (pre-pandemic), explores consumers’ merchant experiences as they shop in-store, online, and via mixed channels. The survey was designed with the goal of defining and highlighting consumer expectations for optimal experiences with merchants.

We have found that no single payment method dominates any merchant vertical. In general, debit cards and credit cards are evenly used in each vertical. Cash is most frequently used in verticals that typically have low ticket sizes like c-stores and QSRs.

This year, we have seen that the mix of debit and credit cards loaded into a universal wallet differs significantly by brand. Apple Pay users have a debit (64%) and/or credit card (50%) in their wallet. Google Pay owners have a slightly different card mix – credit (65%) and debit (39%). Samsung Pay is evenly split with 54% debit and 54% credit.

Additionally, consumers continue to concentrate their card spending on one instrument. The proportion of American adults using only one payment method has been steadily increasing since 2018which has resulting in declining usage incidence numbers for credit and debit.

Although six in ten Americans report they have made a cross-border e-commerce purchase at some time, frequency of such purchasing is relatively low. Only one in seven (14%) report making cross-border e-commerce purchases “very often” (7%) or “often” (7%). Asia (43%) is the leading region American cross-border e-commerce shoppers look to, followed by Europe (38%) and Canada (31%).

This second of three reports on the survey’s findings looks more specifically at the emerging behavior patterns of customers as they shop in-store, online, via mobile. The report’s analysis of the findings offers insights on payment behavior with traditional and newer methods, the use of mobile wallets and conversational commerce, gift card purchasing and usage, and the impact of in-store ATMs on spending and store visits.

Pete Reville, Director, Primary Research Services, Mercator Advisory Group, the author of this report comments, “This report is clear in identifying a very important shift in consumer behavior – consumers are increasingly relying on their mobile devices for shopping both in-store and online. While this survey was conducted before the pandemic significantly affected the country, this shift was starting and it appears that the move to mobile may only be accelerated as a result of the pandemic. This behavior change has begun with younger adults, but will likely start to move older adults too.”

Companies mentioned are: Affirm, Apple, Google, Klarna, PayPal and Samsung.

Highlights of this report include:

  • Changes in shopping behaviors
  • Mobile wallet usage in-store and online
  • Card spending habits
  • Instant financing at the point of sale
  • The use of smart speakers and paying via voice (conversational commerce)
  • Cross border ecommerce



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