Starbucks’s Mobile Payment Option Remains the Most Successful


Starbucks is a successful business, with a recognizable brand and a substantial physical retail presence just about everywhere.

It is also a company that has the most successful mobile payment option out there, with a commanding lead over the likes of Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay. At least, that’s the results that eMarketer has found, based on a report recently published by Recode. According to the data, Starbucks’s mobile payment option –which is available as a means to pay for goods through the company’s official iOS and Android apps– will be used the most when compared to the other options out there. Specifically, 55 million people in the U.S. over the age of 14 will use a mobile payment option before the end of the year, and over 40 percent of them will be using the Starbucks app to do it.

There are several reasons that eMarketer believes Starbucks will retain its lead. First, that the Starbucks mobile payment option launched before Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay — or any of the other options, for that matter. As a result, early adoption may keep the majority of Starbucks visitors using the app to pay for food and drinks. It may also be due to the fact that Starbucks offers rewards towards future purchases by using the mobile payment option.

As a seemingly random aside, eMarketer also points out:

“Apple Pay is accepted at more than half of U.S. merchants, according to eMarketer. Google Pay is less popular despite being preinstalled on Android phones. Samsung is the most widely accepted — about 80 percent of merchants have it, eMarketer estimates — but it’s the least popular.”

Based on estimates made by eMarketer, Starbucks will have 23.4 million users in the United States, each of which has used the in-app mobile payment option at least once in the last six months.

“The Starbucks app lets users pay with their phones and earn credits toward future purchases. That usage is significant: Starbucks said its mobile order-and-pay system accounted for 12 percent of all U.S. transactions in the quarter ended April 1.

By year’s end, Starbucks will have 23.4 million users in the U.S. who have made an in-store mobile payment in the previous six months, according to eMarketer’s estimates. That number is higher than the 14.9 million customers who are part of Starbucks’s rewards program, which only counts monthly active users; customers also don’t have to be rewards members to make purchases using the app.”

Starbucks’s lead in the mobile payment market is likely not going to fade any time soon, basically.

Our Take

It’s interesting that the report, nor eMarketer, appear to point out that Starbucks isn’t a retail partner for Apple Pay. Yes, Apple’s mobile payment option is supported by the Starbucks app, but you can only use it to reload the digital card in the app. So even if you use Apple Pay to add money to your Starbucks card, you’re still using the Starbucks mobile payment option to actually buy the food or drink. Personally, having to scan a digital barcode to make a purchase isn’t the best option, and if Starbucks’s physical retail stores would actually support Apple Pay I’d use that option in a heartbeat over Starbucks’s option.

[via Recode]