Almost 90 percent of consumers in Kenya use their mobile phones more than any other device, according to MasterCard’s Impact of Innovation study. Preference for mobile payments remains very high in Kenya at 87 percent, with 96 percent of Kenyans using their smartphone as their primary device, according to the survey. Laptop penetration is currently at 90 percent, compared with 70 percent for traditional desktop computers. The Mastercard Impact of Innovation study surveyed 23,000 consumers in 23 countries across Europe, Africa and the Middle East about their attitudes to digital technology.
All those surveyed were living in urban areas, active online, owned a bank account and were between the ages of 20 and 50. The survey found that while in Africa and the Middle East, over 70 percent of respondents said they were ready to pay with their mobile phones, Western Europeans have some way to go, with only 40 percent stating the same. However, when asked about new ways to pay, consumers in every regions chose their mobile device as an alternative to the traditional payment card. Consumers in Kenya are very positive about digitalisation and especially the effects of innovation on society.
Eighty-six percent of Kenyans believe that digital tools will be used more often by more people. They believe digital innovation will be very important for public transport, healthcare and education in the country in the future. Daniel Monehin, Mastercard’s President, Middle East and Africa, says the study confirms that not only is there a huge appetite for new ways to pay, but consumers overwhelmingly want to use their mobile phones. In fact, many are ready to do so right now.
For decades, payment cards have been the only reasonable alternative to cash, but consumers are saying loud and clear that they want digital innovations in all areas of their lives. Monehin says Kenya has a high rate of adoption when it comes to mobile technology. This, coupled with the positivity towards digitisation displayed in this research, points to a deep understanding by Kenyans of the positive socio-economic effects that innovation and digitisation can have on the development of the country’s economy.