Job Losses to Affect Mobile Commerce?

POSTED BY Global Administrator
Every day media sites like CNN, are reporting more job losses and grim predictions about the prospects for 2009. The IMF has recently revised its forecasts downwards, announcing that world growth has ground to a virtual halt.

I could continue, and very easily fill this blog with worrying views of the outlook for the global economy. But that would hardly raise any eyebrows.

At Juniper Research we have recently been thinking about how these trends might affect the mobile industry. The most visible effect so far has been the effect on device shipments and my colleague Andy Kitson has blogged on Nokia’s results when they announced that they expect industry mobile device volumes to decline approximately 10%.

There is also a whole range of mobile commerce services at various stages of growth and development such as mobile banking, mobile ticketing and mobile coupons. I think the answer is that few services will be totally immune from impact, but some will be affected more than others and maybe not all of the effects will be negative...hmmm there’s a thought!

One of the areas that I think will be affected most is the emerging market for mobile money transfers.

There are two key aspects to this: migrant workers sending money home regularly when their families may not have bank accounts, and also payments between users often in developing countries where neither has access to traditional banking facilities. Paying salaries can be quite a challenge in this situation.

Already the effects of the recession are impacting countries such as the Philippines where overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are finding it harder to get jobs because “more and more companies in Europe have halted their projects and stopped hiring Filipino workers”.

Simply put: fewer migrant workers will mean fewer money transfers.