As a millennial, I often browse Pinterest, my favorite fashion blogs and Instagram to find style inspiration or links to purchase my new favorite shirt or summer sweater. The best part? One week later my new clothes show up at my front door and I didn’t even have to get off the couch or put down by Chipotle burrito. It is no secret that as digital natives, millennials have fully embrac`ed the eCommerce culture. As a whole, our generation shops online at a rate significantly higher than our parents and grandparents. And now, the tides are changing again.
While eCommerce still has a strong hold on millennials, mCommerce (mobile commerce) is becoming more and more relevant to the millennial lifestyle. According to a recent Neilson report, millennials are the largest segment of smartphone users. Overall, in the second quarter of 2014, eighty five percent of millennials 18-24 owned smartphones and 86 percent of millennials 25-34 are smartphone users. Top-selling brands are embracing this mobile culture and rethinking the way they are spending their marketing dollars in order to better connect with the mobile-driven demographic.
In 2012, Apple introduced Passbook. The concept was simple; use your phone to store the things that clutter up your wallet. Users had the option to save their movie tickets, boarding passes, membership cards and a whole slew of other valuable wallet-cluttering gems. Now, Apple is at it again with Apple Pay, new software released on September 12 that allows users to store credit and debit cards in their Passbook. Essentially, Apple is turning your phone into your computer, your iPod and now, your wallet. Soon, all you will need when you leave your house is your iPhone. But are millennials really on board with Apple Pay?
This release happened just after Apple downloaded the new U2 album to every iPhone user’s music library. Thousands of Apple fans were furious and called the download an invasion of privacy. Questions about security and privacy flooded the Internet causing concern about Apple Pay and its privacy settings. At first, I was among those who were hesitant to download the new software. I couldn’t think of a more dangerous and invasive idea. Put my most personal information on my phone? You must be crazy. But, the more I read and learned about the new Apple Pay system, the more convinced I became.
Financial services are not the same as they used to be. With apps like Venmo, Square and PayPal, sending money and online banking has become a completely digitized system. Even paying with cash seems outdated now. Apple’s new program is on board with the trend offering the convenience of on-the-go payment with the security of a bank. The description of the new app guarantees security and utilizes the finger scan feature of the iPhone in order to guarantee that the most valuable information you have on your phone cannot be accessed by anyone but you. The payment process is similar to the successful model already utilized by millennial favorite, Starbucks.
Participating stores will have an apple symbol on the cash register and all the user will have to do is touch the iPhone finger sensor and the phone will recognize the payment and buzz to let you know it was sent. All without unlocking your phone! As this trend continues, Forrester predicts that mobile payments will reach close to $90 billion by 2017.
While at first I was hesitant to download the software, I am waiting eagerly as my phone updates on my desk. Macy’s is one of the first brands that is Apple Pay compatible and I am ready to test the new service.