Digital wallet statistics: Usage and market size

We look at digital wallet usage in the UK and globally.

Digital wallets are becoming a popular choice in the UK and around the world, with many of us choosing to pay from our bank accounts using Apple Pay or Google Pay rather than a debit card. We look at digital wallet usage in the UK and globally, as well as the market size compared to other payment methods.

Digital wallet statistics: Highlights

  • Over three-fifths (60%) of the global population is predicted to use digital wallets in 2026.
  • There were 3.4 billion digital wallet users in 2022, growing to a projected 5.2 billion in 2026.
  • 1 in 5 Brits (21%) regularly use their smartphone to pay for items in person.
  • Almost half (49%) of global online transactions were made with a mobile wallet in 2022.
  • Over a third (35%) of UK online transactions were made with a mobile wallet in 2022.
  • Apple Pay is the most popular mobile payment service in the UK as of March 2023.
  • As of 2020, Apple Pay had 507 million users worldwide.
  • As of April 2022, Google Pay had 150 million users worldwide.
  • Almost half of Brits (45%) leave the house with only their phone as a payment method.

The growth of digital wallets in the UK

Research by Finder has revealed that 45% of Brits aged 16 and over leave the house with only their phone as a payment method at least some of the time, which is estimated to be around 25 million people.

A quarter of Brits (25%) only leave the house without another way of paying occasionally, such as when they’re popping to the local shop. However, 1 in 5 (20%) admit to leaving their wallet behind frequently or all the time, with physical wallets becoming less necessary as digital wallets become more common.

There are clear differences across the generations, with almost three-quarters of generation Z (72%) and two-thirds of millennials (66%) opting for phone-only payments when leaving the house.

Meanwhile, only 1 in 4 baby boomers (23%) and 1 in 10 silent generation members (11%) admitted that they would be comfortable leaving the house with only a phone as a payment method, even if it was just for a short period of time.

Generation Never Sometimes Frequently Always
Silent generation 88.62% 6.50% 3.25% 1.63%
Baby boomers 76.65% 13.77% 6.29% 3.29%
Gen X 54.99% 28.84% 11.86% 4.31%
Millenials 34.06% 35.45% 19.04% 11.46%
Gen Z 28.50% 36.27% 20.73% 14.51%

Digital wallet market size

In 2022, approximately half (49%) of all e-commerce payment transactions around the world were made with a mobile wallet, making it the most popular online payment method.

The market share is set to increase further by 2026, as projections suggest that 54% of e-commerce payments will be made via digital wallets by 2026. It’s also estimated that 60% of the global population will use digital wallets by 2026.

There’s no doubt that digital wallets are becoming a payment method of choice for many of us. With so much of our lives stored in our phones already, it’s easy to pay with mobile too!

Payment type 2022 2026
Digital wallet 49% 54%
Credit card 20% 16%
Debit card 12% 10%
Account-to-account (A2A) 9% 10%
Buy now, pay later (BNPL) 5% 6%

How many digital wallets are there?

In 2022, there were around 3.4 billion digital wallet users globally, and this figure is estimated to rise to a whopping 5.2 billion users by 2026, an increase of 53%. The number of digital wallet users has grown from 2.6 billion in 2020, a rise of over 30% to 2022.

Apple Pay is the most popular mobile payment service in the UK as of March 2023, with around 69% of those who used mobile payments in the previous year opting for this brand. It is followed quite a way behind by PayPal, which 31% of users had paid with, and Google Pay, which 27% had paid with.

Brand Percentage
Apple Pay 69%
PayPal 31%
Google Pay 27%
Cash App 13%
Samsung Pay 8%
Revolut 6%
Bitpay 5%
Chase Pay 5%

Apple Pay statistics

As of 2020, Apple Pay had 507 million users worldwide. 69% of people who use some form of mobile payment in the UK chose to use Apple Pay for an in-person purchase in the first 3 months of 2023, up from 62% in the first 3 months of 2021.

The number of people using Apple Pay for online purchases was significantly lower, with just over a third (35%) using this digital wallet.

Quarter In-person Apple Pay usage Online Apple Pay usage
Q1 2021 62% 21%
Q2 2021 63% 21%
Q3 2021 60% 22%
Q4 2021 62% 25%
Q1 2022 63% 27%
Q2 2022 63% 29%
Q3 2022 65% 32%
Q4 2022 68% 34%
Q1 2023 69% 35%

Google Pay statistics

As of April 2022, Google Pay had 150 million users worldwide. In the UK, 27% of mobile payment users chose Google Pay for in-person transactions in the first few months of 2023, down from 37% in the third quarter of 2021.

Meanwhile, 1 in 5 users (22%) opted to make a purchase with Google Pay online in the first quarter of 2023, up from 17% in the first quarter of 2021.

Quarter In-person Online
Q1 2021 31% 17%
Q2 2021 35% 18%
Q3 2021 37% 18%
Q4 2021 36% 18%
Q1 2022 33% 19%
Q2 2022 31% 20%
Q3 2022 30% 21%
Q4 2022 28% 21%
Q1 2023 27% 22%

Digital wallet market growth

Globally, the value of transactions made using digital wallets is predicted to be approximately £7 trillion ($9 trillion) in 2023. By 2028, this is expected to grow a further 77%, with the value of transactions on mobile wallets reaching over £12 trillion ($16 trillion).

UK digital wallet market

Digital transactions worth approximately £259 billion were made in the UK in 2022, and over a third (35%) of online purchases were completed using digital wallets. This is up from 29% of online purchases in 2019.

Year Digital wallet Credit card or charge card Debit card Buy now pay later Other
2019 29% 26% 29% 3% 13%
2020 32% 23% 29% 5% 11%
2021 32% 27% 32% 6% 3%
2022 35% 24% 22% 8% 11%

Digital wallets are a less popular in-store payment method in the UK compared to online, accounting for just 10% of transactions in 2022. However, this is still up from just 4% in 2019, and the share of digital wallet payments has been increasing year on year.

Year Debit card Credit card or charge card Digital wallet Cash Other
2019 48% 20% 4% 27% 1%
2020 49% 24% 8% 13% 6%
2021 45% 28% 9% 11% 7%
2022 47% 29% 10% 10% 4%

How many people use a digital wallet in person?

Our 2024 survey found that 1 in 5 Brits (21%) regularly use a digital wallet on their phone to pay for items in person. This is more common among the younger generations, with a third of millenials and generation Z (aged 16-42) regularly using mobile payments.

Digital wallet adoption worldwide

Interestingly, the top 10 countries for digital wallet adoption are based in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. This is because wallets are the first booming digital payment method in these countries, and debit cards and credit cards are less common compared to Europe and North America.

Country Percentage
Thailand 92%
India 90%
Hong Kong SAR 89%
Philippines 88%
Malaysia 86%
China 84%
Indonesia 82%
Saudi Arabia 80%
Taiwan 78%
Singapore 78%

Sources

  • Statista
  • Worldpay
  • Juniper
  • Google
  • To find out how many Brits are leaving the house with just their phones and no wallet, Finder commissioned Censuswide to carry out a nationally representative survey of 2000+ UK residents aged 16 and over between 30 April and 2 May 2024.

Click here for more research. For all media enquiries, please contact

Matt Mckenna
Head of UK communications
T: +44 20 8191 8806
matt.mckenna@finder.com@MichHutchison/in/matthewmckenna2

More guides on Finder

Go to site