5.2 billion digital wallets to be in use by 2026

There will be 5.2 billion digital wallet users by 2026 – up from 3.4 billion in 2022 – as ‘superapps’ drive adoption in developing countries, according to research from Juniper Research.

Its report, ‘Digital Wallets: Market Forecasts, Key Opportunities and Vendor Analysis 2022-2026’, classifies superapps as multipurpose apps that integrate digital payments alongside other services, including wealth management and e-commerce.

Additionally, it outlined three countries in Asia Pacific primed for rapid growth over the next four years, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

It predicts that the adoption of digital wallets will reach nearly 75% of the population in each of these countries by 2026. It cited the rising access to online and mobile commerce services as driving forces behind the use of digital wallets, notably through superapps.

Furthermore, it stated that QR code payments will be the most popular transaction type in 2026, reaching 380 billion transactions globally, accounting for over 40% of all transactions by volume.

However, as usage within markets, including China and India reaches its apex, vendors will need to innovate to remain competitive entering new geographic markets. As a result, Juniper states that QR code payment vendors should integrate loyalty features and personalised marketing capabilities to incentivise merchant acceptance.

Research co-author Damla Sat said, “These rapidly growing markets represent a significant opportunity for digital wallet vendors, but they must work intelligently to maximise their position.

“A highly competitive wallets’ landscape means that vendors must differentiate themselves by integrating machine learning to provide spending insights and introduce new services such as wealth management to add value.”

A report from PYMNTS and PayPal also highlighted the importance of superapps. It stated that 72% of consumers are interested in a super app that acts as a one-stop-shop for most of their needs.

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