It will be a month this week that Apple Pay, Apple's mobile payment and digital wallet service was introduced for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Days before launching, the excitement was riding high with tech analyst Christina Warren who bluntly stated that Apple Pay was going to be a BFD. Late yesterday a new report was published that shows that Apple fans have been eager to use Apple's new mobile wallet service right out of the gate.
During September's Apple Event, Apple's CEO Tim Cook put up a slide during his keynote introducing Apple Pay quoting Jenna Wortham of the New York Times saying that "A truly mobile wallet has long been described as imminent. But it remains elusive …most have been a disappointment or have not yet worked well enough for mainstream adoption.
A new report from Mike Isaac and Brian Chen of The New York Times began with somewhat of a follow-up quote: "For years, tech companies have dreamed of a future in which people ditch their wallets and pay for things with their smartphones. And for years, that has not happened. But Apple may be on to something."
The report further noted that in just three weeks after launching Apple Pay, some major retailers are already noticing a wave of Apple fans eager to check out at the register with their new iPhone 6.
Whole Foods, the high-end grocery chain, said it had processed more than 150,000 Apple Pay transactions. McDonald's, which accepts Apple Pay at its 14,000 restaurants in the United States, said Apple Pay accounted for 50 percent of its tap-to-pay transactions. And Walgreens, the nationwide chain of drugstores, said its mobile wallet payments had doubled since Apple Pay came out.
Denée Carrington, an analyst with Forrester Research stated that "Quite frankly, a lot of it has to do with the strength of the Apple brand and how much merchants and customers love how easy the experience is. I'm not saying it's changing the landscape overnight. But this has never happened with other mobile wallets."
Apple's leadership driving the mobile wallet has been good for the entire mobile wallet industry as a whole. After the enthusiasm of the Apple Pay launch, both Google Wallet and Softcard by AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon experienced a huge bump in downloads and usage.
The New York Times quoted Michael Abbott, chief executive of Softcard as saying that "because of Apple, many companies now want to support the same technology for paying by phone: near-field communication, which enables devices to exchange information wirelessly over very short distances. Apple Pay has been a huge tailwind and it's a rising tide that has lifted all boats.
Another report published in Michigan today had some rather surprising news about Apple Pay's wide usage in the grocery market sector.
Emily Lawler reported that in Michigan, "Grand-Rapids based Meijer is listed on the Merchant Customer Exchange's website, but is accepting Apple Pay. They have 106 stores in Michigan."
Lawler further reported that "Michigan-based SpartanNash runs 91 grocery stores in the state including Family Fare Supermarkets, D&W Fresh Market, Forest Hills Foods, VG's, Glen's and ValuLand. SpartanNash Director of Corporate Affairs Meredith Gremel stated that "Currently all of our Michigan stores accept Apple Pay." In fact, they started taking Apple Pay the day it was launched.
The report goes on to note that Whole Foods is on board with Apple pay and in fact Walter Robb, co-CEO of Whole Foods Market, in a press release stated that they were "… thrilled to be one of the first retailers to accept Apple Pay across all of our locations nationwide as it offers our shoppers a fast, private and secure check out option at our stores."
The report noted that Apple Pay is now being supported by over 200 Michigan grocery stores since it launched three weeks ago which is an amazing adoption rate.
Apple Pay will also eventually roll out to the enterprise in spite of some like PYMNTS.com who recently tried to paint a picture that Apple Pay missed an opportunity in the enterprise right out of the gate. Of course Apple missed nothing. Apple Pay for the enterprise will be a focused phase of Apple Pay when Apple is prepared to roll it out.
In the end, Apple Pay is experiencing a great start right out of the gate and is hugely successful with high profile retailers as noted in this report. This is only Apple's first phase of their new mobile wallet service. The service still has to focus on adding more merchants and rolling out in more countries before expanding to the enterprise and other forms of payment services. But wow, in three short weeks Apple Pay has rocked the entire mobile payment industry and is eagerly being adopted by iPhone 6 users wherever the service is available. That's the power of the Apple Brand.