You don't have to be a believer or supporter of "mobile payments" to guess that, at some point, mobile devices will be used for many "commerce" applications that turn a "communications" device into a "transaction" device.
In 2011, Gartner analysts predicted worldwide mobile payment users would surpass 141.1 million, a 38.2 percent increase from 2010, when mobile payment users reached 102.1 million.
Worldwide mobile payment volume was forecasted to total $86.1 billion, up 75.9 percent from 2010 volume of $48.9 billion. Gartner forecast
Money transfers and prepaid top-ups clearly drove transaction volumes in developing markets. These are seen as the "killer apps" in developing markets, where people value the convenience of sending money to relatives and topping up mobile accounts. This is most obvious in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, where these two services were expected to account for 54 percent and 32 percent of all transactions in 2011, Gartner said.
It might take until 2014 before retail mobile payments really becomes a mass market behavior in developed markets, though.
The top mobile apps, though, will show the growing importance of commerce and payment-related mobile apps, whether in 2012, as Gartner originally projected in 2009, or by 2014, which seems a more reasonable scenario at this point.
The top 10 consumer mobile applications in 2012 were projected to include money transfer, mobile payment and mobile advertising.