The smartphone becomes our most beloved gadget – “The Mastercard Impact of Innovation study” reveals attitudes and appetite for digital in all areas of life

Budapest, Hungary, September 27, 2016. ­— More than 90% of consumers use their smartphone more than any other device,  Mastercard’s Impact of Innovation study [i] reveals. Consumers would also rather use biometrics than PIN codes when it comes to paying for things – saying they’d prefer fingerprint recognition.

The Mastercard Impact of Innovation study surveyed 23,000 consumers in 23 different countries across Europe, Africa and the Middle East about their attitudes to digital technology. It found that while in Africa and the Middle East over 70% said they were ready to pay with their smartphones, Western Europeans have some way to go – only two fifths (38%) said so. However, when asked about new ways to pay, consumers across all regions chose their smartphone as an alternative to the plastic card.innovation-budapest

“Our study launched during the Mastercard Customer Innovation Forum in Budapest confirms that not only is there a huge appetite for new ways to pay, but consumers overwhelmingly want to use their smartphones. In fact, many are ready to do so right now. For decades, plastic cards have been the only reasonable alternative to cash – but consumers are saying loud and clear that they want digital innovations in all areas of life” says Ann Cairns, President, International Markets at Mastercard.

Consumers demand more innovation in crucial areas

Four out of five (80%) consumers said there is enough innovation in social networking, global travel, shopping and financial services. But across markets, consumers want more digital innovation in healthcare, public education and public transport.

92% of consumers across regions think digital innovations are a good thing, and have a positive outlook on the future of technology. Only 8% of people say they think digital innovations are having a negative impact.

The survey results also indicate that consumers who live in technologically less developed countries tend to be more enthusiastic about digital innovation than in markets where it is readily available. Western Europe has the largest ratio of those resistant to digital change (17%), while Central and Eastern European countries and those in the Middle East and Africa have the highest number who actively embrace new technology. More than a quarter (27%) in Russia, Turkey and Ukraine call themselves ‘eager promoters’ of new technology. People in the Middle East and Africa demand more innovation in all areas.

“The research commissioned by Mastercard is quite unique since it provides a deep dive into the digital transformation of society. It shows that developing regions tend to be more optimistic when it comes to the potential for digital technologies to help improve their lives. This is natural, as people in highly developed countries already have access to state-of-the-art technologies and therefore may not associate technology with improving their lives, or they may already have seen some of the potential negative effects,” says Dr Carsten Sorensen, Reader (Associate Professor) in Digital Innovation at The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

While enthusiastic about innovation, consumers across regions want security, especially when it comes to making payments. Consumers unanimously agreed that bank account security is their absolute priority when it comes to digital payments, followed by the security of their personal data. They also value the speed and simplicity of the payment process.

“In previous years many consumers told us they had a negative or neutral view of digital innovation. But this study shows a major global shift in consumer behaviour. People across many diverse countries want a digital lifestyle and think it brings benefits to their lives. It’s important we listen to consumers about the types of innovation they want to see more of – but it’s extremely exciting to see the pace and appetite for change” concluded Ann Cairns.

The Mastercard Impact of Innovation study – Key findings
Western Europe (France, Germany, Italy, Sweden and the UK) ·        Consumers in Western Europe tend to be moderate when it comes to digital innovation. Larger proportions of resistants’ (17%) are paired with a lower rate of ‘eager promoters’ (11%). The percentage of people ready to pay by smartphone is around 40%, however Sweden stands out – over 70% are ready. Western Europeans trust biometric authentication such as fingerprint (38%) more than they trust PIN (30%)
Central Eastern Europe (Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Hungary, Israel, Poland, Romania, Serbia, and Slovakia)     ·         Central Eastern Europe occupies the middle ground in many aspects. With the highest rate of drifting followers’ (46%) similar to Western Europe, but with a much lower rate of ‘resistants’ (11%). Mobile payment readiness is 57%, and fingerprint authentication (34%) is trusted more than PIN (33%)
Russia, Ukraine, Turkey   ·         Regarding the further spread of digital services Russia, Ukraine and Turkey are the most positive: 4 out of 5 consumers think that they will be available for more people in the future. Mobile payment readiness is an average 64%, and this region boasts the highest number of ‘eager promoters’: an impressive 27%. People from these countries trust fingerprint the least – only 32% said so, but they still prefer it to PINs. SMS code leads with 36%. Demand exists for more innovation in automobile and transport industries.
Middle East & Africa  (Egypt, Kenya, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates) ·       Consumers in the Middle East and Africa are optimistic about the effects of digitalization and more open towards innovative solutions: Mobile payment readiness is the highest at 73% and the region has the highest ratio of enthusiastic followers (33%). People here do not generally trust PIN codes for payment (24%), however fingerprint enjoys more confidence (32%) and the list is topped by SMS code (36%). This region demands innovation in most areas: not only education, healthcare and transport, but also in commerce, finance, automobile, hotel and restaurant industries.


Notes to Editors

The Mastercard Impact of Innovation study looked into the perception of digitalization and its effects on society, personal preferences in using digital technology for payment, and payment authentication. It also showed how resistant or willing respondents were in accepting and actively using digital technologies.

[1]   The survey was commissioned by Mastercard and carried out by IPSOS Research in the summer of 2016. The survey gathered data from internet users with bank accounts between the age of 20-50 in Mastercard’s 4 global regions: Western Europe (countries: France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, and the UK); Central Eastern Europe (countries: Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Hungary, Israel, Poland, Romania, Serbia, and Slovakia); Russia, Turkey/, and Ukraine/; and the Middle East and Africa (countries: Egypt/, Kenya/, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, South Africa/, and the United Arab Emirates). In countries marked with / above, the survey is representative of Internet users, while in all the other countries the survey is representative of the whole population. Sample structure: N=1000 respondents per country, representative sample of 20-50 aged online urban population by gender, age and region. Methodology: online self-completed interviews via IPSOS access panel. Questionnaire: 20-minute self-completed online questionnaire.

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