Insight: Retailers must meet expectations of mobile savvy students

According to the latest research, 36 per cent of students want to pay for goods with their smartphones, a reminder to retailers to prepare their shops and staff to accept mobile payments.

The survey, by Vista Retail Support found that smartphone payment systems are almost as popular with students as contactless cards, which are owned by 71 per cent of students, despite having been available for a much shorter span of time.

Surprisingly, the survey also found that only 9 per cent of students currently possess a form of wearable technology, despite the hype around wearables as the ‘new gadget’ for tech-savvy students. 96 per cent of students prefer to use cash, mobile or cards to pay for goods, with only 4 per cent choosing wearable technology as their preferred method of payment.

James Pepper, technical service director at Vista asked: “if this is due to lack of affordable wearables or retailers not offering payment through this method?” He continued, “Although many retailers are fully equipped to accept contactless payments we are finding that both in-store colleagues and customers are unaware of this and as a result are missing out on lucrative sales. The key to unlocking this revenue stream is by educating staff on the store’s payment capabilities and making students aware that contactless payment is welcome.”

Student funds comprise a significant sum for retailers. According to ONS data, students spent more than £30 billion in 2015. This is expected to increase to £37 billion by 2020, revealing how much retailers stand to gain by appealing to the student demographic.