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Digital wallets poised to dominate global payments

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Mar 21, 2024
Digital wallets' share of global transaction value
Data: Worldpay Global Payments Report; Chart: Axios Visuals

Digital wallets account for half of all e-commerce spending worldwide and nearly a third of all point-of-sale (POS) purchases, according to WorldPay's latest Global Payments Report.

Why it matters: Wallets are set to become the leading payment method both online and in person, even in markets where credit and debit card use has dominated.

By the numbers: In 2023, wallets accounted for $3.1 trillion, or 50% of global e-commerce spending, and $10.8 trillion, or 30% of global POS spending.

  • WorldPay projects that by 2027 wallets will account for more than $25 trillion in global transaction value — or about 50% of all e-commerce and POS sales combined.

State of play: Wallets are already the leading e-commerce payment method in the Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America regions, but they are expected to grow across all regions over the coming years.

  • At the point of sale, wallets represent 50% of spending in Asia-Pacific today.
  • They are expected to become the leading payment method in LatAm and Middle East and Africa markets by 2027.
  • And over the same period in Europe and North America, markets historically dominated by in-person credit card use, wallets' CAGR are expected to be 24% and 23%, respectively.

The big picture: This growth is expected to come at the expense of credit, debit and cash payments.

  • Credit cards are expected to decline from 22% of global e-commerce purchases and 27% of POS sales in 2023 to 15% and 22% in 2027, respectively.
  • Debit use is projected to fall from 12% of sales online and 23% of in-person purchases last year to 8% and 18% in 2027.
  • Finally, in-person cash payments are set to fall from 16% of sales to 11% over the same period.

Between the lines: WorldPay's definition of wallets includes payment methods from e-commerce platforms like Amazon Pay and Rakuten Pay, super apps like AliPay in China and Paytm in India, and bank networks like Danske Bank's MobilePay.

  • In China and parts of Southeast Asia with standardized, real-time payment rails — like UPI in India or PayNow in Singapore — QR codes continue to drive wallet adoption.
  • Meanwhile, in card-dominated markets, growth is being driven by pass-through or staged digital wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay and PayPal.
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