Majority of UK Consumers Believe Physical Wallets Will Become Less Relevant, Mastercard Survey Reveals

More than half (51%) of consumers in the United Kingdom believe physical wallets will become a lot less relevant as virtual payments continue to grow in adoption. This, according to the latest research shared by Mastercard (NYSE: MA).

Mastercard teamed up Central Saint Martins on the research in order to look closely at how  wallets have changed during the past 100 years and how they could look in the future.

The data from the study indicates that there’s a significant decline in physical wallets, with around 21% stating they don’t expect to be holding a wallet or purse within the next few years. This notably increased to 38% among Millennial survey respondents.

As much as 93% of UK consumers stated that they will be considering using alternative methods of making payments, such as contactless, QR code, biometric payments and crypto transfers in the coming year.

A third – or around 31% of 18-24 year old consumers noted that the virtual wallet on their smartphone is their preferred way when compared to only 5% of those aged 55 and over.

And 55% of 18-34 year olds said they would rather carry their mobile phones in place of a wallet or purse and 41% of Gen Z consumers noted that they are not expecting to ever buy a physical wallet or purse in the future.

Nearly half (49%) of survey respondents stated that they only carried their wallet or purse since it’s helpful to have their other cards like drivers license and loyalty cards, meanwhile, a third of UK adults stated that they don’t even need to keep a wallet or purse anymore.

About a third (30%) of UK consumers said that the wallet or purse they have is actually smaller than the one they had around five years back, and 33% stated that they could no longer look for a coin compartment when purchasing a wallet or purse.

Around 40% of survey respondents said they want the smallest wallet or purse as they do not have any space to carry a bigger one in their pockets.

Mastercard president UK & Ireland Kelly Devine said:

“We don’t often consider the impact that changing payment preferences have on the accessories we choose to buy and use. In contrast to a decade ago, many who still carry wallets are now seeing them more as a site of a personal archive rather than a vessel for physical cash and cards. As technology continues to evolve, wallets shrink, and people increasingly embrace digital methods of payment, our focus remains on delivering choice, convenience, and speed for people around the country.”

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