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European Consumers Unconvinced at Prospect of Smartwatch Payments as Apple Pay Launches

Smartwatch-based eWallets, such as Apple’s soon to launch integrated Passbook and Apple Pay services, could find it difficult getting European consumers to take these new services up as research shows that they treat smartwatch devices with significantly more suspicion that US and Chinese consumers.

The study found that consumers with the lowest confidence in smartphone-based eWallets were Germans, with just 20% expressing interest in using such a system. Following behind them were UK consumers, where 27% expressed interest. In contrast, US consumers showed the highest level of interest, with 54%, followed by Chinese consumers with 40%. The study itself collected data from 1,000 smartphone owners in China, Germany, South Korea, the UK and the US, and was conducted by German-based market research firm Gfk.

South Korea also scored low, with 27% of consumers showing interest, however this is thought to be due to their being early adapters of mobile payments, with numerous, established and popular mobile-based payment systems being used, much like their Japanese neighbours.  

European consumers have also had contactless payments for some time, primarily in the shape of credit cards, which accounts for 93 million transactions annually in the UK alone and is more than tripling year-on-year, which could make it difficult for Apple to find traction is these markets with their new Apple Pay service.

The US and China however lack contactless payment options and infrastructure, which is likely to have been a major contributor to the higher interest in the implementation of such payment options into these markets.

Apple Pay is set to launch today with the rollout of the company’s latest version of iOS, which is iOS 8.1. Apple’s smartwatch however looks set to launch sometime early next year, although a release date is yet to be confirmed.