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Smartphone instead of wallet: Ukrainians in love with mobile shopping

Author : Nina Hlushchenko

Ukraine is in the world top-5 countries by the number of mobile payments with MasterCard and in the top-10 by the number of payments with Google Pay. Large international payment services came to Ukrainian market earlier than to some European countries. Let’s find out how it happened and how Ukrainians today use their smartphones for shopping.
22:47, 10 June 2019

Open source


The payment trend

Among experts there is an opinion that paying transport fees is the best way to introduce new technologies into the people’s lives. Residents of developed Asian countries, many years ago have introduced payment with cards in transport and extended the habit to other areas of life.

In Japan, payments by telephone became the norm long before the advent of NFC thanks to the subway system and its own mobile contactless payment technology.

In Ukraine, according to MasterCard, those who once made a contactless payment in the subway, began to pay twice as often in other places.

Developing their own financial services, Ukrainian mobile operators are also striving to implement their own payment tools in public transport - payment by SMS is already working in Vinnytsia, Zhytomyr, Ivano-Frankivsk and other cities.

They also want to make their instrument familiar to subscribers.

In addition to transport, new methods of payment appear in infrastructure facilities and popular entertainment locations: the Atlas Weekend festival with completely cashless territory, cashless payment in the Kyiv zoo and botanical garden, Sofiyivsky park in Uman, an experiment with the completely cashless Sushiya restaurant.

Companies are introducing such an option to cut queues. Along with the queues, the costs of servicing cash payments are reduced, the “express” service format for customers becomes even more “express”.

But all this would be impossible if the Ukrainians themselves did not absorb new technologies and did not become their active users.

Contactless takeoff

As it was described in MasterCard office, in Ukraine there has already been a trend for non-cash payments. According to the company, the growth in non-cash operations for 2018-2019 was 55%.

Contactless payments have become a driver for cashless payments, believe MasterCard and say that in the past two years there has been an NFC revolution in Ukraine. More than 20 banks already issue digital cards, such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and so on.

“The market has already been formed,” says Yury Batkhin, vice-president of MasterCard in Ukraine for business development. The number of transactions is growing 35 times from year to year, and there are already tens of millions of them.

According to MasterCard statistics, Ukraine is among the top 5 countries in the world in terms of mobile payments and NFC. Top 4 categories of it are grocery stores, transportation, gas stations, cafes and restaurants.

In the Ukrainian office of Visa employees reported that contactless payments account for 80% of all non-cash payments.

Google says that our country is in the top 10 in the world (they don’t specify a place in the ranking) by the number of “taps” (that is, payments). A couple of years ago, when Google Pay just started to spread around the world, a global company decided to bring it to the Ukrainian market six months earlier, because it saw the readiness of Ukrainian consumers to pay with a smartphone.

In Honor Ukraine they say that only NFC versions of products are being brought to Ukraine, this function is very important for consumers.

Related: Zelensky: We want to fit government in smartphone


Recently, MasterCard published the results of the Digitalization Survey 2019 study on digital payments and smartphones use in Europe.

In Ukraine, 87% of bank customers are ready to use mobile applications for payments, and 58% already use them, which is the highest figure in Europe after Austria. 79% of respondents are engaged in online shopping from smartphone, and 67% use online banking.

Mobile shopping

For many Ukrainian users the smartphone is really becoming an important tool for shopping, and is used for various aspects.

With it, you can find information about products, buy them - right in your smartphone, pay using digital wallets online or contactless. At iForum 2019, several analytical companies presented their mobile audience research at once.

According to Kantar, 29% of all activities from a smartphone are online purchases. This is the fourth most popular activity after reading news (53%), searching for information about a product (48%), watching a video (36%).

This study showed that most often via mobile devices people buy clothes and shoes (60%), tickets (50%), household appliances (47%), phones (44%) and cosmetics (40%).

41% of Internet users are accustomed to buying with a smartphone, despite the fact that the number of PCs in our country still dominates. A similar picture we have in Australia, Germany, Russia and France.

Top online purchases, according to GfK Ukraine (without being tied to the platform), looks similar.

In the first place are clothing and accessories (64%), then - appliances, cosmetics, toys, household chemicals and food, which accounts for only 11%.

At the same time, if two years ago only 27% of Ukrainians made shopping with a smartphone, now it is 44% of them. More share have just laptops and desktops - just over half of their users make online purchases.

According to Intertop, the Ukrainian trend is to find information on products online and buying offline. According to Allen Chen, director of consumer electronics division of Huawei Ukraine, the same trend is visible regarding the mobile devices.

People choose models online, read specifications, compare prices, but then still come to the offline store to touch the device with their own hands and buy on the spot.

As Olena Smirnova told at the meeting in Moyo.ua company, it was very important for them to “connect” the audience of those who come to the site and then come to the store for a purchase in order to understand what is the percentage of these people and who they are (online purchases of  the store account for about 50% of sales, with the national average about 10-15% for electronics stores).

As it turned out, those who enter the site from the phone generate about 50% of offline sales to the store.

What's next?

Now the smartphones in Ukraine are suitable not only for payment. This year Visa and MasterCard announced solutions for accepting payments using NFC. It will be enough for the buyer to touch the seller’s smartphone with his own to complete the purchase.

For business, this reduces the cost of accepting non-cash payments, which means that the number of spots where you can pay without cash will increase, moreover, the process will be contactless. Hence, the trend will gain momentum.

Related: Belgian military may be banned from using smartphones due to espionage from Russia

Related: Ukraine in top five of countries enjoying cheapest mobile internet

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