During his January conference call with investors, Tim Cook said that 2015 would be ‘the year of Apple Pay’, and while Apple’s mobile wallet has already leapfrogged rivals like Google Wallet, a new survey of the top 100 retailers in the country found that Apple Pay still faces a long uphill battle.
In an interview with Reuters, an Apple spokesperson said they’ve spoken to all of the top 100 merchants in the year and “about half will accept Apple Pay this year, with many more the following year.”
That sounds pretty good, but Reuters decided to speak with all 100 of the merchants themselves and found that nearly two-thirds have no plans to begin accepting Apple Pay this year. And only four companies said they’re already planning to join the program in 2016.
Insufficient customer demand was cited as the top reason for retailers not accepting Apple Pay, despite Apple’s aggressive marketing of the new mobile wallet. One top merchant said Apple has called to persuade their company to adopt Apple Pay even after they told Apple they wouldn’t because not even a “small percentage” of customers have asked for it.
Another reason for the slow of adoption has been the lack of access to data provided to merchants during Apple Pay transactions. Apple could address this in an Apple Pay 2.0 update that is expected to include loyalty programs and better merchant services, like those offered by StarBux. Other merchants said they’re holding out because they plan to take part in the CurrentC service launching later this year.
Some CurrentC supporters like Target and Best Buy have already announced plans to accept Apple Pay in the future, but the biggest hurdle towards mass adoption might be that iPhone 6 and Apple Watch owners aren’t using it enough. A survey of 1000 iPhone 6 users in March found that while 15 percent had tried Apple Pay, only 6 percent continue to use it.