Over 50 percent of mobile recharges in India were completed online in 2020 as people refrained from moving out of their homes due to the coronavirus pandemic and the trend is likely to continue, according to a report by The Economic Times.
For the first time, Bharti Airtel in 2020 saw 50 percent of its recharge revenue coming from online and digital platforms, the report added.
Further, payment gateways and fintech companies also acknowledged a 55-75 percent increase in mobile recharge transactions.
Google said searches on “how to pay online” and “UPI” surged by 30 percent during the lockdown, with “how to pay electricity bill online” seeing 180 percent increased interest. As such Google Pay had many first-time users choose digital payment methods.
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“We saw a significant surge in these use-cases on Google Pay, confirming this trend,” a Google spokesperson told the paper.
PhonePe saw a 55 percent growth year-on-year (YoY) (December 2019 to December 2020 since the COVID-19 lockdown) in recharge transactions, a spokesperson told the paper, adding that this has continued post lifting of the lockdown, which suggests a “permanent” shift in customer habits.
PhonePe added that besides increased transaction volume, the average transaction size also increased by 20 percent YoY – largely due to customers opting for unlimited plans during the lockdown,” it said.
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Infibeam Avenues’ executive director Vishwas Patel said transactions on CC Avenue payment gateway platform increased 75 percent against per-COVID lockdown quarters. He added that the average transaction value for prepaid recharges stayed around Rs 126 and jumped above Rs 500 for post-paid subscribers – largely due to increased data needs amid work-from-home.
Spice Money’s Dilip Modi said mobile recharge transaction volumes and value of transactions from semi-urban and rural areas – which contribute 80 percent of gross transaction volumes on the platform grew 100 percent between April and December 2020. He expects the growth to continue into the coming quarter of FY21.Follow our full COVID-19 coverage here