eMarketer: Apple Pay overtakes Starbucks as top payment app in the US

For the first time, a generic mobile payment app is more popular than the Starbucks mobile app, which had long led the category despite being specific to one retailer. Apple Pay became the market leader last year, when 27.7 million Americans used the app to make a purchase according to a recent eMarketer report.

In 2019, Apple Pay will have 30.3 million users in the US, representing 47.3% of proximity mobile payment users. Following closely behind, the Starbucks app will have 25.2 million users this year, representing 39.4% of proximity mobile payment users.

  • Total spending via proximity mobile payments will approach $100 billion this year in the US. That means that on average, a user will spend $1,545 per year using proximity mobile payments, up more than 24% over last year.
  • Technology for proximity mobile payments is gaining traction, especially at frequently used retailers like grocery stores. According to Digital Trends, Apple Pay is expected to be available in 70% of US retailers by the end of 2019.
  • The total number of people using proximity mobile payments in the US this year will grow 9.1% to 64.0 million – nearly 30% of all US smartphone users.

Apple Pay has benefited from the spread of new point-of-sale (POS) systems that work with the NFC signals Apple Pay runs on. The same trend should also help Google Pay and Samsung Pay, but they will continue to split the Android market.

eMarketer principal analyst Yory Wurmser