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NFC – Still Growing but May be Not for Commerce After All

  • By Timothy Roberts
  • Thursday, January 24, 2013

Last week Citigroup released a report on the NFC market and its market growth. According to an article from Investor’s Business Daily the report from analyst Deborah Weinswig says:

“Gartner estimates that mobile payment sales will reach $617 billion in 2016, representing a 42% five-year compound annual growth rate, with 448 million users. We believe that NFC is not dead. Google Wallet is just one example of an NFC payment system that retailers are testing today in an attempt to find a winner.”

What’s of particular interest is that the article and the report both point out the NFC is growing even though Apple isn’t in the game. Which begs the question, what exactly is Apple doing about NFC? While the object of much speculation, it is unclear if Apple sees it NFC as “not for commerce” or if the recent Passbook app is a forerunner for a digital wallet. A article on the iPhone 5 launch from the Guardian does a good job of explaining the “chicken and egg” issue with NFC for Apple, as the technology is not yet widespread, but if 20% of the market doesn’t have the technology, it may never take off.

I’ve long held that at this point in the game, NFC is truly Not for Commerce, but only time will tell.