As we zoom our way through the month of December (what? already?), we are pausing to take stock of what’s been happening in mobile parking payments. It’s so important in any industry to take the time before each year end to glance in the rearview, reflect on the journey, and contemplate what’s on the horizon.
Over the past 12 months, we have learned so many valuable lessons at HONK. Of course, there were the inevitable bumps that make what we do every day an exciting challenge, but what stands out most is the knowledge we gained by looking at what has worked (and hasn’t worked) for our customers.
Knowledge is power, so today we are sharing the most important trends we saw emerging in 2022. Our hope is that these insights shed more light on what drives drivers—and lot operators—going into 2023. Here at HONK, knowing what our customers want and need so we can offer it makes our work more rewarding in every sense of the word.
2022 brought us so many insights…
We were buoyed by the fact that mobile wallet usage just kept on growing.
It became clear quite early that we are hurtling faster and faster toward a more digital world. According to McKinsey, 15% of people are now packing a digital wallet rather than the real thing. And 32% of them now have three or more wallets downloaded on their phone – up from 21% just one year ago. So it should come as no surprise that next year, 1.6 billion global consumers are expected to pay via digital wallet at the point of sale. Still, the magnitude of mobile use to come is pretty mind-boggling.
Why such a huge shift to mobile payment? For one thing, we are now living in a remote world where digital solutions just feel safer. Not surprisingly, almost half of consumers believe that contactless payment methods are among the most important safety measures merchants can implement. In fact, they are counting on it. No one wants to pick up germs while paying, but thanks to contactless pay options, we can shelve that fear.
At HONK, we have seen Apple Pay, Google Pay and PayPal adoption take off on our platform. Interestingly, the virtual pay/credit card ratio has almost flipped a full 180 degrees. Just 18 months ago, only 30% of transactions were made by digital wallet and at 70%, credit cards were king. This year, digital wallets have sprinted ahead, accounting for 60% of transactions while credit cards have dipped to a 40% low.
We were reminded that ‘there’s not always an app for that’—as one-tap checkout soared.
Almost out of nowhere it seemed, speed, convenience and ease became synonymous with parking, which for so long was fraught with frustration. Many parkers realized for the first time just how easy and satisfying it is to be able to pay with a single click. For us at HONK, watching the newly converted made for some of our most gratifying moments.
We credit the meteoric rise of the QR code with helping to make parking easier for everyone. The code appeared quietly during Covid (restaurant menus, in-seat ordering, etc) but quickly took its place as an essential, intuitive digital tool, especially in parking lots. Post-Covid, drivers were already QR experts, which is lucky for them because by 2025, QR codes are forecasted to be used by more than 2.2 billion customers.
It was sobering to learn, though, that mobile apps aren’t always the most convenient payment option. For some transient, one-time parkers, the steps of downloading an app, registering for an account and saving credit card details proved to be cumbersome. Luckily, we were able to offer drivers our app-less HONKTap checkout if apps weren’t meeting their needs.
We were thrilled to see customers trade old clunky hardware for simple software solutions.
For years, we at HONK have been touting the benefits of software-only payments to anyone and everyone who will listen, so imagine our glee as we witnessed so many customers removing physical pay terminals from parking lots. Thanks to the simplicity of scan-to-pay software, they could finally kick that antiquated hardware to the curb!
Also, when adding new lots to their inventory, more and more of our existing customers stopped investing in terminals and ramped up offering the app-less checkout to drivers instead. Even municipalities (cue seasonal and busy locations) and private operators are now opting for hardware-free zones to save money and drive up efficiencies. Who can blame them? It’s quicker and simpler to set up QR codes, and easier to make rate changes on the go with no third parties or vendors in the way.
2022 brought us so many gifts (and we’re sharing!)
Everywhere we look, the future is mobile, and it will only get more and more mobile because software simplifies everything we do. In these uncertain times of high inflation and interest rates (ugh), we are all craving simplicity and stability. For HONK customers, that means the need for smarter, cheaper, more efficient ways to monetize parking has never been clearer. And thankfully, those we can provide. Our mobile solutions are so simple, they are basically like having a parking machine right on your phone.
Here at HONK, we take the trends in mobile parking payment seriously because they help us do our job. They tell us where our customers are and what they need so we can do what we can to make them even happier customers. That means giving drivers more digital solutions, more contactless payment options, more convenient ways to pay. And if our operators can simplify their parking operations and bank more profit as a result, well, that’s a bonus. A big one. Come to think of it, why not consider that our holiday gift to you.