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Mobile POS systems will grow by five times in transactions in five years: Research

Update: Juniper Research has issued a correction. The numbers are lower; one in five, not two in five retail transactions will happen on a mobile POS device and the 2016 rate figure is four, not 12 per cent of transactions. The article has been updated to reflect these changes. 

As many as one in five retail transactions could take place on a tablet or smartphone-based mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) terminal by 2021, according to a new study.

UK-based market research firm Juniper announced its forecast today. The number is five times the expected 4 per cent of retail transactions in 2016. Larger retailers are expected to drive adoption.

The technology is supposed to have benefits aside from digitizing sales.

According to Juniper, these include cutting wait times, reducing opportunities for targeted campaigns, enabling automatic ordering systems in restaurants and more.

“We are seeing several vendors tailor their software to the needs of specific industries, integrating mPOS capabilities as part of broader cloud-based business software,” research author James Moar said in a statement. “These additional services can then make use of the sales data directly to manage inventory, monitor staff performance and other functions, which can all add more value to a business and justify a higher margin.”

In many cases, mPOS systems like the Square credit card reader provide cheap means for a small business to accept credit card payments – in this case the company charges 2.65 per cent per swipe for Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express – this will hold true in developing markets such as India, Southeast Asia and Latin America.

The smaller charges going through these systems, according to Juniper, will help establish market share through brand familiarity and stickiness.