The eMarketer blog post making rounds on Apple Insider and other sites basically says Starbucks in-app payments are bigger than Apple Pay and that in-app payments will probably grow faster than Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc.
That’s not surprising for the American market where credit cards are the norm. There is no stored value card you can use everywhere for purchases and transit while racking up points, like Apple Pay Suica.
For people who use Starbucks all the time in-app recharge is basically a stored value card, it’s just not sitting in Apple Pay Wallet. And it’s a barcode (sigh). If a Starbucks card existed in Wallet, eMarketer would be reporting that Apple Pay is a hit.
Apple Pay Suica proved that small purchases are the no-brainer starting point for digital wallets. Anybody will use an app, or Apple Pay, to pay for the 3.05 cup of coffee because nobody wants to bother with coins. Nobody uses Apple Pay to purchase a 600 dollar couch.
The real golden uptake path for a digital wallet platform like Apple Pay is when it is matched with a stored value card that includes transit and purchase with points, in short a transit platform. America doesn’t have one yet so the in-app recharge with reward points approach will continue to be more popular than Apple Pay by itself.