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Apple Pay awareness, adoption plateau, according to consumer survey

Only 15 percent of respondents who own an iPhone use Apple Pay on a regular basis.

Apple Pay awareness is high among iPhone 6 users, but adoption continues to lag and is slightly down from the previous year, according to consumer survey results from First Annapolis Consulting.

First Annapolis surveyed 580 iPhone 6 users as part of a total sample of some 1,300 household financial decision makers and smartphone users about general consumer payments use and awareness.

Among all survey respondents, 73 percent have heard of Apple Pay, while awareness jumps up to 84 percent for the subgroup of iPhone 6 owners.

"Awareness among iPhone 6 users is down slightly from 88 percent in our spring 2015 survey, though still within the survey's margin of error. Apple has done an excellent job of promoting Apple Pay since its launch in October of 2014," said Hugh Gallagher, a principal at First Annapolis.

Some 20 percent of iPhone 6 owners reported adopting Apple Pay (i.e., having used the service at least once), down from 22 percent in the spring survey, but also still within the survey's margin of error. Among those that have adopted Apple Pay, only 15 percent say they use it regularly or frequently (i.e., more than once per month), compared to 19 percent in the spring survey. On average, Apple Pay users have loaded 2.3 cards into their Apple Wallet; 75 percent of cards loaded were general purpose payment cards (41 percent credit, 30 percent debit, 4 percent prepaid), while 25 percent were proprietary retail store or loyalty cards which Apple began enabling only in the second half of 2015.

Despite relatively few NFC-enabled terminals in the market, the physical point of sale remains the primary channel for Apple Pay purchases. Among those that have used Apple Pay, 66 percent reported having made a purchase in-store, while 52 percent reported having made an in-app purchase.

"At this point in time, the typical financial institution can expect 1–2 percent of cardholders to use Apple Pay two or more times, based on the survey results and Apple's share of the U.S. handset market," said Gallagher. "This represents positive momentum for the evolution of the U.S. mobile payments market, but it also suggests a long adoption curve. Despite different stakeholder interests and mobile-related initiatives, most signs point to long-term success."