Study: Consumers want digital payment

The e-commerce surge which accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic has created growing consumer preference for digital payment methods.

According to the Blackhawk Network Global Digital Payments study, which surveyed more than 13,000 consumers in nine countries including the U.S., Canada and U.K., 63% of respondents are more likely to shop at a retailer if it accepts the digital payments they use. Almost three-quarters (73%) of respondents say they want to be able to pay the same way they pay online and in-store.

Furthermore, the payment preferences that matter most to respondents when paying for goods and services in the next six to 12 months will be a secure (47%), fast (36%) and easy (39%) checkout process.

Across all regions, 69% of respondents who are digital wallet users reported shopping more often since using a digital wallet, and 54% reported spending more money at retailers where they can use digital payments. A majority of respondents (85%) reported that digital wallets have made shopping easier.

The top retail segments where digital wallet users are using digital payment methods are online-only retailers (41%), grocery stores (37%), and mass merchandisers (26%).

The survey also found that QR codes, or barcodes on a mobile device, were a digital payment tool that emerged with new digital wallet users during the pandemic, and were used more frequently at grocery stores and online-only retailers. Eighteen percent of respondents used a QR code or barcode for the first time during the pandemic, and 40% reported using them more frequently. Thirty percent of non-using respondents are interested in using barcodes or QR codes.

Digital gift cards got a boost from self-use, as one-third (34%) of respondents reported purchasing a physical or digital gift card for themselves in the last year. Additionally, 46% of respondents report being interested in digital gift cards to make purchases online.

Despite the increase in digital wallet usage and acceptance, 50% of surveyed digital wallet users reported friction in using them because they are not accepted everywhere—including 30% of respondents who reported they can't always use the same digital wallet at the same retailer in-store and online. 

Other interesting findings include:
•    Across all regions surveyed, 27% of respondents reported there were too many digital wallet options, while 20% don't feel as comfortable using digital wallets as they do using traditional payment methods.
•    Since the pandemic, two in five respondents have been making in-store purchases less frequently, but once shopping returns to pre-pandemic levels, slightly more shoppers will return to in-store than online.
•    Fifty-one percent of respondents rank the ability to see and touch items in-store before making a purchase as one of the most important factors when they are able to return to their pre-pandemic shopping habits.

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