MPoS broadens its roots and gains momentum

The global mobile point of sale (MPoS) installed base will grow from 13.3 million units today to 54.03 million units in 2019, according to new research.

A report from business intelligence group 451 Research suggests that diverse factors including enterprise deployments, expansion into new vertical industries and financial inclusion in developing economies will serve to increase the installed MPoS base at a 32% CAGR, over the next four years.

The forecast comes from 451 Research's latest Technology & Business Insight report, 'Mobile Point of Sale: Smart Devices Earn a Growing Share of Global Payment Acceptance'. There are various definitions for MPoS, but for the purposes of this study it is described as smartphone, tablet or other consumer-oriented mobile device that functions as a PoS terminal and facilitates payment card transactions through a contact (eg, audio jack, wired connection) or wireless (eg, Bluetooth) connection to a card-accepting reader or device sled.

Jordan McKee, senior analyst for the research company's mobile payment coverage, commented: "Today, it's simply myopic to look at MPoS as a tool for micro-merchants.

"In a short time frame, it has broadened its roots across a wide swath of vertical industries and almost unanimously across all merchant tiers. The technology's momentum is at least in part linked to its diversity; MPoS is helping to enable customer engagement in retailers such as Nordstrom while driving financial inclusion in countries such as Nigeria."

According to 451 Research, rapid growth will be most evident in emerging economies where MPoS is playing a prominent role in building out the electronic payments acceptance network against a backdrop of rising card penetration. In North America and other mature markets, however, expansion of MPoS is set to continue as the technology becomes more integral to larger enterprises.

This year's RBTE in London, which brings together the retail technology sector for a two-day conference and exhibition to focus on the latest innovations influencing the industry, suggested retailers are increasingly looking to introduce MPoS and improve store mobility within their operations.

Reflecting on the event in March, Huw Thomas, managing director of IT services provider PMC said: "What is clear is that the trend is moving rapidly towards greater store mobility, whether that be about putting MPoS technology in the hands of store staff, enabling better communication between staff throughout the store or facilitating improved management of products, prices, promotions and cash.

"All of these have the propensity to drive real improvements in store efficiency while also delivering a better consumer experience. However, the pre-requisite to all of these solutions is a robust full coverage wireless network. This for me is the single biggest practical requirement to enable all of the cool stuff."

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451 Research