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  • Writer's pictureJaime González Gasque

The future of payments: integrating social commerce, e-wallets and digital marketing in 2024

2024 will be a big year in the European payments space with e-wallets gaining popularity and Gen Z coming to the fore, requiring businesses to re-think their e-commerce strategies.

As the financial world steps into a new era of innovation and change, 2024 will be pivotal. The influence of Gen Z, the transformative power of digital wallets, and the nuanced strategies of targeted digital marketing, are all set to fast evolve.

The rise of social commerce in 2024.

As the formidable Gen Z generation steps into the workforce, they’re enjoying increased disposable income. Naturally, their shopping preferences are evolving, and they’re demanding a familiar and convenient approach. Enter “social commerce,” a burgeoning style of e-commerce facilitated through social media platforms.

To effectively target this digitally savvy demographic, businesses must rethink their e-commerce strategies. Gen Z is the largest and most digitally capable group and social media heavily influences their purchasing decisions. To thrive in the coming year, merchants need solid social media marketing strategies, coupled with in-app social media payment capabilities. Adapting to evolving consumer preferences and staying ahead of the game will be key to catering to these younger audiences.

In 2024, innovation and change will define the European payments landscape. Merchants and retailers must seize the opportunities presented by emerging technologies initiatives like the European Payments Initiative.

Digital transformation and the European payments landscape

The global surge in e-wallet adoption, particularly in China and Southeast Asia, is reshaping how people handle their finances. Notably, 84% of Chinese consumers actively use e-wallets, contributing to a decline in cash usage. In Europe, a similar transformation is anticipated, with transaction values through mobile wallets rising by over 30% in the past three years. The European Payments Initiative plans to further catalyse this shift by introducing an EU-wide digital wallet, starting in France, Germany and Belgium.

In 2024, a rise in the adoption of digital wallets across Europe is expected. However, unique challenges confront the continent, such as the diversity of payment preferences among its countries. Bridging the gaps between EU member states will be a complex task and local payment preferences are likely to persist within specific regions. While France leans towards card payments and embraces new payment technologies, Greece, for instance, remains rooted in cash transactions. Navigating these disparities will be crucial for the successful integration of digital wallets into the European payments landscape.

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Localising strategies for global success

For businesses eyeing international revenue streams, tailoring and localising offerings extends beyond payment methods to digital promotions and marketing strategies. In 2024, a heightened focus on customising digital marketing capabilities for specific markets will emerge, driven by the integration of these services within cross-border payment providers.

Consumer preferences for digital marketing offers vary significantly by region. Chinese and Southeast Asian consumers show a preference for promotional discount codes, while Europeans lean towards traditional seasonal sales options. Businesses seeking to capitalise on cross-border trade opportunities must align their strategies with local preferences. For instance, entering the Chinese market requires a shift away from promotions around Christmas and Black Friday in favour of campaigns centred around Chinese Singles Day and Golden Week.

Crafting a resilient future

As we look ahead to 2024, the convergence of social commerce, the rise of digital wallets and the evolution of digital marketing underscore a transformative year for the European payments landscape. Merchants and retailers must embrace these trends, adapting their strategies to the unique preferences of Gen Z consumers and the diverse payment landscapes across European countries. The key to success lies in agility, innovation and a keen understanding of the local nuances that shape consumer behaviour in an increasingly interconnected world.

Pietro Candela is head of European business development, Alipay

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