Here’s Why Apple’s Passbook App Has Already Become A Major Platform For Mobile Commerce

Here’s Why Apple’s Passbook App Has Already Become A Major Platform For Mobile Commerce



What is Passbook? The short answer is that it’s a place for large retailers and brands to connect with consumers. The list of the brands with a Passbook presence is impressive enough to suggest that Apple’s wallet app isn’t too far from being what it set out to become: an iPhone repository for coupons, travel and event tickets, gift and loyalty cards, and vouchers. The stuff that otherwise clutters wallets and purses, and powers commerce.  In the U.S. market, over 35 large retailers and restaurant chains — from Walgreens to Target to Dunkin’ Donuts to Starbucks — as well as event companies, global airlines, and sports leagues are already using it as a channel for acquiring and retaining customers. Apple’s Passbook is already the fourth-most popular mobile commerce app among U.S. consumers. One-fifth of iPhone owners use it. It’s Apple’s fast-maturing attempt at a virtual wallet. Apple has over 500 million credit cards on file. Amazon, its closest competitor in this regard, has less than half that amount of consumer accounts on file. Apple may one day leverage these credit cards to turn Passbook into a real transactions platform to boot, a la PayPal. Are brands ready? In a new report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s paid subscription service, we look at the data and numbers behind the Passbook ecosystem.

What brands and retailers are present?

How effective have Passbook campaigns been in driving consumer activity and raising brand awareness?

How does it work? 

Here’s our ecosystem graphic: 



Apple Passbook Ecosystem


The report includes over a half-dozen charts and datasets  examining the intricacies of the Passbook ecosystem. Subscribers also receive full access to the BI Intelligence library of over 100 in-depth reports on mobile commerce, mobile payments, and the mobile industry, and hundreds of datasets you can put to use.

In our report on Passbook, we also look at some misconceptions and underrated opportunities:

The Passbook ecosystem is a valuable back-door for developers who would like to market their apps more aggressively, grab more visibility and achieve higher download numbers.

Passbook passes can be generated by websites and/or with the help of third-party vendors, they don’t necessarily need to be created by custom Passbook-integrated apps.

Passbook is well-positioned to seize on recent retailer and consumer enthusiasm for location-based services, mobile coupons, and mobile-powered loyalty programs.

We include a handful of mini-case studies, and examine data that reveals how successful certain brands and retailers have been with Passbook.

We also discuss Passbook’s relationship with the burgeoning and competitive mobile payments space, and the uncertainty surrounding its future as a payments platform. 

Will Apple add a payment-processing capability, so that users can make “walletless” credit card payments with Passbook? Will it be joined with fingerprint-reading technology, the rumored authentication feature to be included in iPhone 5S?

It also includes an examination of the top barriers to widespread Passbook adoption: namely, the chicken-and-egg problem that ties relatively low app publisher adoption to a lack of wider consumer awareness.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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