The Contactless Ticketing Market Continues to Grow Despite Challenge from Mobile

The True Value of Mobile Ticketing Lies Beyond the Ability to Virtualize a Ticket
07 May 2018

Despite ongoing debate on the mobile ticketing displacement impact on the traditional contactless ticketing smart card market, the contactless ticketing market will continue to grow. Shipments are expected to rise from 447 million in 2018 to 550 million in 2023, according to a new report by ABI Research, a market-foresight advisory firm providing strategic guidance on the most compelling transformative technologies.

There is no silver technology bullet to cover all ticketing modes -  train, ferry, subway, bike, taxi, plane and bus - and ticket types - frequent, infrequent, daily commuter, tourist, tech-savvy and adverse and the unbanked. All this points toward an overriding requirement for transportation authorities to increase ticketing consumption choice via the creation of technology co-existence ticketing ecosystems.

The smart card market has paved the way for new ticketing innovation, heavily utilizing well-established contactless ticketing infrastructure to shift toward account-based, open systems, bringing new ticketing form factors, including mobile, to the market.

For the leading OEMs, the mobile ticketing opportunity has not gone unnoticed and is viewed as a natural evolutionary expansion market to flesh out mobile payment platforms. Apple has already announced support for the FeliCa ticketing protocol. Google recently announced a partnership with NXP, integrating NXP’s MIFARE 2GO cloud service with Google Pay to enable the digitization of MIFARE-based ticketing credentials on mobile and wearables devices, with the first commercial launch on the Las Vegas Monorail in May 2018.

However, mobile needs to take the ticketing market to the next level, combining and tying in other services to shift from ticket distribution and authentication towards personalized services and journeys. As ticketing choice increases, the ability to simply digitize a ticket will not a sufficiently compelling reason for a user to choose a mobile ticketing credential over another more familiar form-factor.

“Feature rich mobile devices are credential types from which service providers can gather valuable data and analytics on customers, bringing them closer to end users,” said Phil Sealy, Principal Analyst at ABI Research. “This will help optimize and provide targeted added value via the launch of new innovative services as well as a platform from which new allegiances and partnerships can be forged. This will build out future strategies and ultimately open up new revenue opportunities and business models through campaigns, marketing and loyalty and it is this opportunity the likes of Apple and Google are chasing.”

Top-of-wallet, brand stickiness, and loyalty should be the end goal of mobile ticketing solution providers. However, they need to carefully combine these requirements to compel both the transportation authority and the end user.

“Visionaries understand that the true value of mobile ticketing lies beyond the ability to simply and securely digitally visualize a physical ticket. Development strategies need to focus on the enablement of a compelling offer which combines the convenience of mobile with added value, molding services around the new business model opportunity and ultimately justifying it with a clear business case/ROI,” Sealy added.

These findings are from ABI Research’s ​Mobile Ticketing: The Diversification Opportunity report. This report is part of the company’s ​Digital Security research service, which includes research, data, and Executive Foresights.

About ABI Research

ABI Research provides strategic guidance for visionaries needing market foresight on the most compelling transformative technologies, which reshape workforces, identify holes in a market, create new business models and drive new revenue streams. ABI’s own research visionaries take stances early on those technologies, publishing groundbreaking studies often years ahead of other technology advisory firms. ABI analysts deliver their conclusions and recommendations in easily and quickly absorbed formats to ensure proper context. Our analysts strategically guide visionaries to take action now and inspire their business to realize a bigger picture. For more information about ABI Research’s forecasting, consulting and teardown services, visionaries can contact us at +1.516.624.2500 in the Americas, +44.203.326.0140 in Europe, +65.6592.0290 in Asia-Pacific or visit


About ABI Research

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