Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hockey stick or horseback of mobile wallet take-up

I have been thinking about this for some time now and have touched on it in previous posts. Based on our experience to date, what does a typical growth curve for mobile wallets look like? To put it in another way: Would the graph look like a hockey stick graph: slowly picking up speed over time and then gathering momentum to ultimately get a life of its own? Or would it look like a horseback graph: Quickly getting up to speed with a significant penetration and then pick up the rest over time?

Our immediate logic says: hockey stick. This thing is foreign and it is going to take time for the masses to actually start using it. It is up to the early adopters to first try it out and to get to grips with it so that the rest can get onto it in time. But this is where we make a massive mistake, I believe. This thing is different. This is about a network effect: the fax machine problem. Even if the early adopters take it up, but do not quickly have enough reasons to use it, they would also discard it.

This is my view now: the only possible success for mobile wallet deployments is if the initial (first) penetration is quickly (and fast) enough to create a community that can sustain itself. The first launch is critical and must be decisive and swift. Consumers must immediately buy in to the value proposition and start using it immediately with positive feedback - only then will the product stick.

It is also my impression that this theory is supported by what we observe in practice. The really successful deployments made a quick start and established a critical mass within eighteen months. Others that started out tentatively usually do not meet expectations and get caught in the valley of desperation where they are not bad enough to close down, but also not good enough to get anyone excited.

1 comment:

Louis said...

Great insight...though I agree, it is concerning at the same time.