The two platforms are behind only PayPal, which has had a significant head start on its Chinese rivals – PayPal was founded in 1998 as Confinity and held an IPO in 2002, while Alipay was established in 2004 and WeChat Pay launched in 2013.
Globally, Juniper Research expects that nearly 2.1 billion consumers will use a mobile wallet to make a payment or send money in 2019, up by nearly 30% from the 1.6 billion recorded during end-2017.
While contactless card payments remain far more prevalent than NFC mobile payments in many markets, leading wallets are aiming to change this enabling both online and offline options.
Juniper predicts that PayPal, which has begun offering contactless payments instore in the US, had the greatest opportunities to develop a converged wallet on a worldwide basis, but that Alipay is close behind.
Meanwhile QR code payments have seen “quite astonishing” levels of adoption in China, Juniper said, but are failing to gain traction beyond limited applications in Europe or North America.
“QR code based payments are likely to have significant growth in markets such as India and sub-Saharan Africa, due to the negligible implementation costs. However, their greater susceptibility to alteration to include viruses and phishing scams is likely to act as a major deterrent elsewhere,” research author Windsor Holden said.