2020 is coming to an end, but the ravages its events have brought about are going to stay with the world well into 2021 and beyond. The talk on everyone’s lips may be the pandemic, but the fact of the matter is that COVID-19 has changed not only the way humankind lives, but also the global economy as a whole. The labor market, the operation flows of virtually all industries, countless companies, customer behavior, relationships with partners and organizational systems have all changed to adapt and business models have been rethought to cater to new realities.
The changes brought about are numerous and largely relate to social distancing and preventative measures aimed at preventing disease transmission. But the given measures touch upon virtually all walks of life and business. As a result, one of the new trends emerging in light of the restrictions is retailers refusing to use payment terminals in favor of mobile analogues and SoftPos.
With payment terminals being a major point of physical contact, it is only logical for businesses to eliminate such a vulnerability and focus on alternative online solutions capable of providing matching services with, oftentimes, greater convenience and functionality.
Businesses today are more focused than ever on offering customers customized solutions that best meet the needs of both companies and their clients. Such client-orientation is the new norm as the pandemic itself has made it clear that businesses sticking to former models are losing revenues. With the pandemic shutting down multiple companies, the choice of services and products available online grows as businesses are migrating into the digital environment and adjusting their payment gateways to suit new realities.
The share of online sales and services has grown significantly since the start of the pandemic. Ecommerce stated in its latest report that e-retail sales accounted for 14.1% of all retail sales worldwide and ecommerce continued to grow rapidly despite global economic uncertainty. Statista forecasts that ecommerce will keep growing and will reach 22% in 2023, standing at $4.13 trillion in 2020. It is also expected that mobile commerce will account for 72.9% of market shares by 2021, as most online customers prefer to pay with credit cards and around 51% of online shoppers conduct purchases via their smartphones. Given that there are over 2 billion digital buyers in the world, such figures are well-founded.
During the lockdown period, consumers in various countries developed a habit of using online services, but the situation did not change even after the restrictions were lifted. In fact, the habit had only continued to accelerate and evolve as the convenience of using online services proved to outstrip the possibilities offered by traditional shopping approaches.
IT companies and products have continued to develop and gain popularity over the course of the most difficult periods of the pandemic. In part, their activities form the basis for the development of new business opportunities.
A more relevant and recent example is that of Digital Alliance Holding AB, which has developed and implemented a SoftPos solution under the tap2go brand. The new breed of digital payment terminals offered by the brand can be installed on mobile phones, essentially turning them into POS terminals for instant acceptance of both fiat and cryptocurrency payments. The advantages of such solutions are obvious, considering that over 46 million merchants worldwide accept cryptocurrencies as means of payment and the total number of newly created unique crypto wallets has already reached 60 million by mid-November of 2020.
Global heavyweights like Apple are also expressing interest in such solutions as the giant recently acquired Mobeewave Inc., a startup that allows iPhones to be used as mobile payment terminals at the tap of a card or another smartphone. The system does not require any additional hardware beyond a Near Field Communications, or NFC, chip, which have been installed on Apple devices since 2014.
Visa is also on the move into the mobile payment terminals market with its acquisition of MagicCube that was awarded the first recognition of a software-based Trusted Execution Environment issued by EMVCo, the global consortium facilitating worldwide interoperability and acceptance of secure payment transactions. The investment into MagicCube is clear evidence of Visa’s strive to collaborating with online providers to compete for the online payments market.
The transformations awaiting the global economy in 2021 will be dramatic. In a recent release, Saxo Bank predicted in a recent release that the fintech and electronic banking revolution will continue in the coming year, giving billions of people access to the digital economy. The development of the digital economy and the continued imposition of restriction measures will be fueling the need for online payment systems, making it clear that solutions like tap2go and those of Apple and Visa will find applications.