An Alipay-app on a smartphone screen and Finnair logos at the Helsinki airport, Finland, 27 January 2017. Finnish flag carrier Finnair said it will launch Alipay as an official method of in-flight payments for customers travelling on carrier's Asian route between Helsinki and Shanghai. Alipay is the mobile payment platform of Chinese Ant Financial. Finnair is the first airline to accept payments via Alipay.Finnair accepts Alipay for payments on passenger planes on its Asian routes, Vantaa, Finland - 27 Jan 2017

Shoppers have caught onto the conveniences of mobile checkout. According to eMarketer’s most recent report, “Global Proximity Mobile Payment Users: eMarketer’s Estimates for 2016-2021,” nearly 35 percent of smartphone users over the age of 14 will use their phone for a purchase in a brick-and-mortar at least once every six months — a record high.

According to the report, China is the global leader in the adoption phase, amounting for more than 61 percent of the entire user base this year. This will fall as the rest of international consumers up their use, the report asserted. But the country will remain the front-runner in the category — comprising 56 percent of proximity mobile payment users in 2021.

The influx is due to the accessibility to mobile pay options like Android Pay, Apply Pay and Samsung Pay, the report said. Alipay and WeChat Pay will also contribute to moving the needle in the uptick in use frequency. What’s more, retailers and brands are increasingly accepting the payment method, facilitating the growth, too.

“Asia-Pacific will have the highest proximity mobile user penetration rate among smartphone users (roughly 50 percent) throughout the forecast period, due mainly to China,” said an eMarketer spokesman. “Looking at the usage among the total population, however, Asia-Pacific is on par with North America, at about 20 percent. This is because smartphone usage, particularly that of more advanced devices, is more common in North America.”

And while China and the Asia-Pacific surge forward in use cases, Western Europe will continue to lag, the report said. Generally, this is attributed to consumer readiness continuing to be relatively conservative.

Emerging markets like Latin America, the Middle East and Africa remain in the early stages of adoption as low bank-account penetration, limited smartphone use and the lack of payment terminals are hurdles for growth. As availability and accessibility to these services and devices become more commonplace, the usage will accordingly increase.

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