This morning, Loup Ventures shared new information on Apple Pay adoption, estimating that there were 127 million global Apple Pay users by the end of 2017, a jump from 62 million the previous year. Given that there are about 795 million active iPhones around the world, this means that about 16 percent of iPhone owners have activated Apple Pay.
Of that 16 percent base, five percent are located in the United States and 11 percent are international users. Loup Ventures broke these numbers down further, pointing out that around 38 million people use Apple Pay in the U.S., and 89 million use Apple's mobile wallet globally.
The Apple Pay review also has a few other tidbits of research, including that the number of banks globally supporting Apple Pay have increased in the past year by 41 percent, to total 2,707 banks. Loup Ventures checked the top 100 retailers in the U.S. for Apple Pay compatibility as well, and found consistent growth of adoption across many online resources. In the last year, Apple Pay adoption in these retailers' apps grew 9 percent, mobile sites grew 85 percent, and desktop sites grew 56 percent.
We completed our annual Apple Pay review and found year over year growth has been impressive with active users more than doubling (source: Apple), transactions more than tripling (source: Apple) and online merchant adoption increasing by ~50% (source: Loup Ventures). That said, we believe only 16% of global iPhone users have turned on Apple Pay. We remain optimistic that Apple Pay will gain widespread adoption over the next 3-5 years given integration OS and iOS makes it the easiest to use digital wallet.
Apple first debuted Apple Pay in the fall of 2014, and although many retailers joined in support of the platform it has faced push back from companies like Target and Walmart as each try to develop their own digital wallet service. Last spring, Apple said it wasn't worried about the slow adoption of Apple Pay because it saw the mobile wallet as on track to soon become its customers' "primary payment system."
In an interview around the same time, Eddy Cue said, "Does it matter if we get there in two years, three years [or] five years? Ultimately, no." Although Apple executives have remained in vocal support of Apple Pay, at the time of the launch consumer reticence to support Apple Pay was said to have permeated within the company, to the point where some executives "were reluctant to promote it." Recent ads for iPhone have been heavily focused on the iPhone X's new features, and the latest Apple Pay-focused commercials date back to 2015.
Despite the slow adoption, Loup Ventures analyst Gene Munster said he and the researchers "remain optimistic" that over the next three to five years, Apple Pay will see ongoing, gradual growth and eventually "gain widespread adoption." Although the report doesn't discuss rival mobile wallets specifically, it states that Apple Pay is "the easiest to use digital wallet" because of its deep integration into iOS.