Apple’s Pay Later Option May Impact US Consumption Patterns

In the latest Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), some key updates were announced for Apple Wallet. Besides the Tap to Pay feature, which allows users to skip the use of a POS terminal, Apple has introduced the Pay Later option, under which the cost of a purchase can be split across four payments over six weeks for US users. Given the US’ big iOS user base, the Pay Later option is expected to impact consumption patterns and payment behaviour there.

Buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) has been a rapidly growing payment method in recent years. Even as digital/mobile wallets are increasingly becoming popular, the fintech sector is developing further, with BNPL catching on with consumers, particularly in the US and Europe. BNPL is a short-term financing service that allows consumers to trade first and pay the total amount in instalments within a specified period after the product purchase and delivery. It helps in expanding the consumer’s purchasing power. It should be noted here that BNPL is not a replacement or alternative for credit cards or debit cards. It relies on the user’s original bank account (credit card or debit card) to offer a time gap between consumption and payment.

How Apple’s Pay Later works?

When the consumers choose Apple Pay to make payments at Apple stores or merchants adopting the Apple Pay API, the payment can be split into four equal instalments spread across six weeks, without incurring any interest or fees. “Built into Apple Wallet and designed with users’ financial health in mind, Apple Pay Later makes it easy to view, track and repay Apple Pay Later payments within Wallet,” the company said in a press release on Monday.

Apple Pay Later is operated on its own database set mainly. It is the latest technologies being used in financial services that differentiate BNPL from the traditional credit card system. These technologies enable a new way of assessing personal credits and managing risk levels. BNPL needs to update the database to adjust the risk control model quickly to be much faster than the credit card repayment cycle, generally no more than three months. Each cycle (from borrowing to repayment) is considered to have run out of data once. The BNPL companies need to continuously run the data to improve the risk control system. With the tons of data on transactions and purchasing behaviour via Apple Wallet, Apple possesses a healthy and trained risk management model to support its operation on Pay Later.

Pay Later Advantages and Risks

Just like Apple Cash and Apple Card, Apple Pay Later will launch in the US initially. After all, Apple Wallet enjoys the biggest base in the US. Furthermore, the US has some of the best banking and credit systems globally.

Klarna, Afterpay (owned by Square) and Affirm are the world’s largest BNPL companies and they all have operations in the US. Moreover, the US is among the top countries in terms of BNPL consumers.

It is a good move to launch Tap to Pay together with Pay Later because Pay Later has a strong link with merchants. The typical business model of BNPL companies has most of the operating income coming from merchants. With Apple Pay’s new functions, merchants can benefit from Tap to Pay with less system integration investment and extra transactions from the Pay Later users. The Tap to Pay and Pay Later combination is the unique selling point for Pay Later over other BNPL providers.

At the same time, Apple Pay Later may experience the shared risk of other BNPL companies –  uncertainty cropping from macroeconomic changes. The BNPL companies have to pay more for funding when the central bank or federal government raises benchmark interest rates. Furthermore, if the debt carries floating interest rates, it gets more expensive when the Federal Reserve raises its benchmark rate. Some companies can pass higher funding costs to merchants through higher fees, or to their borrowers. However, raising the fee for merchants may affect the business relationship. Even if some companies choose fixed-rate debt funding, the attendant risks will come along. But Apple may have less to fear as it has a solid cash flow.

Also, Apple can only encourage its current installed base because the business model leverages Apple Wallet. This can make it easier for the current Apple users to buy more or upgrade Apple products at an early stage.

Apple’s Pay Later will probably be released after the new generation of iPhone and iOS 16 upgrades. Its popularity is expected to grow within years because it is more like an ecological development.

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Global POS Shipments to Reach 270 Million by 2025 at 19% CAGR

  • Pax, New POS and Ingenico led the global POS market in 2020.
  • China is the leading global POS market capturing half of it, followed by Latin America and Europe.
  • Retail, hospitality and healthcare industries are the top applications for the POS market.

San Diego, Buenos Aires, London, New Delhi, Hong Kong, Beijing, Seoul – October 20, 2021

Global point-of-sale device (POS) shipments are expected to reach 270 million units by 2025 with a CAGR of 19%, according to Counterpoint Research’s latest “Global POS Market Tracker and Forecast”.

COVID-19 did have a negative impact on the global POS market as most of the retail shops were closed due to lockdowns in 2020. The hospitality sector witnessed a steep decline in shipments due to curbs on outdoor travel across the world during the pandemic. However, healthcare, warehouse and related O2O commerce saw rising POS shipments to ensure better patient and inventory management. Further, rising consumer awareness on cashless transactions, favorable government policies, and technological advancements are invigorating the POS terminals market with newer form factors and capabilities.

Commenting on the market dynamics and competitive environment, Vice President, Research, Neil Shah noted, “Chinese players are dominating the global POS market with 8 of the top 10 vendors hailing from China. However, all major regions are focussing on creating local POS supply chains. At the same time, we expect Chinese brands to increase their international presence to avoid losing market share due to the home market becoming mature. We believe the market is quite fragmented today but will see more consolidation over the next couple of years. Pax, New POS and Ingenico continue to lead the market in terms of shipment volumes.”

Global POS Market Share Landscape

Point of Sales Market Counterpoint
Source: Counterpoint Global POS Market Report, August 2021

* Represents shipments for Ingenico brand only, Worldline group is tracked separately

  • Pax, with its robust supply chain, manufacturing facilities and R&D capabilities, will remain in a leading position in the global POS market, driven by a strong presence across China and Latin America. Moreover, a balanced portfolio across various connectivity technologies helps Pax widen its opportunities geographically.
  • New POS, the second-largest player, is focused more on 4G and non-cellular POS terminals. Smart, portable and multilane POSs are the top product categories offered by this brand.
  • Ingenico continues to be one of the leading brands across multiple Western markets. Its acquisition by Worldline group will bump up its market share and position.
  • Other important players such as MoreFun and Tianyu have a strong presence in China. Verifone and Ingenico capture nearly two-thirds of POS shipments in India. Verifone is also leading in the North American POS market.

Commenting on the future landscape, Research Analyst Soumen Mandal noted, “China dominates the global POS market and its market is fast becoming mature. Going forward, India will become the fastest-growing market (+38% CAGR) driven by the digital transformation of retail and rising consumer preference for online transactions. The rapid urbanization, globalization of employment and rising travel will foster the development of the POS market in hospitality segments. However, retail will be able to hold its top position in this market based on strong performance across India and Latin America. The rising use of POS terminals in the transportation, government, education, banking and ride-hailing sectors is expected to open new application areas.”

Global POS Market Forecast Insights

Global POS Shipments Counterpoint

*Notes: NAM – North America, LATAM – Latin America, MEA – Middle East Africa, RoW – Rest of World

  • 4G will evolve as a dominant technology driven by the smart POS terminals growth.
  • Data security concerns, high maintenance costs and checkout-free offline retail model will be major challenges for the POS market.
  • However, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) integration in POS terminals for fraud detection and prevention, integrated customer loyalty programs and dematerialization of cards is driving this market.
  • mPOS devices with large displays and near-field communication (NFC) features are the latest trends in this market.
  • With more regulatory encouragement and the young generation’s aversion to carrying cash, the global POS market will see more growth in the coming years.

The comprehensive and in-depth Global Point of Sale (POS) Market, 2018-2025, report is available for subscribing clients.


Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the TMT (technology, media and telecom) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.

Analyst Contacts:

Soumen Mandal

The Branding Source: New logo: Twitter

Neil Shah

The Branding Source: New logo: Twitter  

Counterpoint Research

The Branding Source: New logo: Twitter


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Quectel, Thales & Fibocom Lead the Global Cellular IoT Module Market in Q4 2020

  • The global cellular IoT module market continued to recover sequentially but is yet to reach 2019 levels.
  • Quectel and Qualcomm maintained their top positions in the cellular IoT module vendor and chipset player market shares respectively.
  • Smart meter, automotive and telematics are the top three applications for cellular IoT modules globally in terms of shipments.

San Diego, Buenos Aires, London, New Delhi, Hong Kong, Beijing, Seoul – April 15, 2021

Global cellular IoT module shipments increased 9% QoQ but decreased 6% YoY during Q4 2020, according to the latest research by Counterpoint’s Global Cellular IoT Module, Chipset and Application Tracker. The COVID-19 pandemic slowed down the cellular IoT module demand across mobility sectors but saw an increased adoption among other industry verticals, such as healthcare and gateways. Only Japan and South Korea witnessed an increase in shipments on a YoY basis. The total cellular IoT module shipments for 2020 ended at 265 million units. A fresh wave of COVID-19 and semiconductor shortages stopped the cellular IoT module market from recovering fully.

Commenting on the market dynamics, Research Analyst Soumen Mandal said, “Quectel continued to lead global cellular IoT module vendors in terms of shipment volumes and revenues. However, it lost market share in successive quarters due to the rise of longtail module vendors, especially in China. There has been an intense competition for the second spot between the incumbent Thales, Sierra Wireless and the fast-growing Fibocom. The negative impact of COVID-19 forced Thales to surrender the second spot to Fibocom in Q2 2020. However, Thales recaptured it in Q3 2020, retaining it through the end of the year. The improved performance in Europe, North America and Japan helped Thales regain its position. Fibocom is trying to increase its global presence and improve service support to increase its share in the global cellular IoT module market.

Sierra Wireless slipped out of the top five module vendor rankings with the divestment of its automotive business to a consortium led by Fibocom Wireless to form an independent company, Rolling Wireless. Among large module vendors in China, only Fibocom and Meig experienced positive quarterly and yearly growth during Q4 2020 in terms of shipments.”

Exhibit 1: Global Cellular IoT Module Shipments Share by Module Vendor, Q4 2020

Counterpoint Research Global Cellular IoT Module Market Q4 2020
Source: Counterpoint Global Cellular IoT Module, Chipset and Application Tracker

Mandal added, “The 4G LTE modules continued to dominate, contributing to nearly half of the global cellular IoT module shipment volumes. The demand for 4G Cat-1 modules is poised to grow significantly this year. The demand for NB-IoT modules remains healthy, contributing to a third of the cellular IoT module shipment volumes in Q4 2020. Smart meters, telematics and utilities are the top applications for NB-IoT technology. The 3GPP Release 14 spec-based NB-IoT (Cat NB2) modules gain location capabilities among others, expanding the spectrum of use cases to the broader mobility, tracking and telematics applications.

The demand for 5G IoT modules during the quarter was limited to the router/CPE market and other industrial applications. However, the majority of launched 5G modules are expected to enter mainstream production in the second half of 2021. The demand will also begin to take off with improving 5G coverage in many key markets such as China, North America and parts of Europe.”

Exhibit 2: Global Cellular IoT Module Shipments Share by Chipset Brand, Q4 2020

Counterpoint Research Global Cellular IoT Chipset Market Q4 2020
Source: Counterpoint Global Cellular IoT Module, Chipset and Application Tracker

Commenting on the cellular IoT module chipset supplier landscape, Vice-President Research Neil Shah noted, “Qualcomm further increased its share in the global cellular IoT chipset market to nearly half in Q4 2020, riding on the growing demand for 4G and LPWA modules. As the top-tier Chinese module vendors look to expand their presence beyond China, Qualcomm and other suppliers such as Sony (Altair Semi) and Sequans seem to be major beneficiaries going forward. HiSilicon has been the top supplier when it comes to NB-IoT technology. It expects to continue to lead in the coming quarters despite US sanctions. However, with growing competition and design wins, UNISOC and MediaTek look forward to increasing their market share, especially in the NB-IoT segment away from HiSilicon. With the entry of newer suppliers in the cellular IoT chipset market, such as AutoTalks, ASR and Eigencomm, alongside the vertically integrated u-blox, Nordic Semi will light up some competition, especially in the fast-growing LPWA segment.”

Shah added, “The NB-IoT module ASP (average selling price) continues to decline (3% YoY) with scale in Q4 2020, driving further adoption of NB-IoT technology. Sub-$5 priced modules contributed to almost a third of the shipments during this quarter. The ASP of another fast-growing segment, 4G LTE Cat 1 modules, decreased by 9% YoY in Q4 2020 and is an emerging choice to replace many existing and future 2.5G/3G M2M applications.”

Currently, Counterpoint is tracking and forecasting 40+ IoT module vendors’ shipments, revenue performance across 10+ chipset players, and 18+ IoT applications across 10 major geographies on a quarterly basis, with a forecast up to 2025. Full reports are available for subscribing clients through the following links:

These reports are a part of Counterpoint’s IoT Service.


Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the TMT (technology, media and telecom) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.

Analyst Contacts:

Soumen Mandal
The Branding Source: New logo: Twitter

Neil Shah
The Branding Source: New logo: Twitter  

Counterpoint Research
The Branding Source: New logo: Twitter

Related Posts:

Smartphones as PoS Terminals Fill Digital Gap But Face Challenges

COVID-19 has led to the speedy adoption of digital payment methods across India. However, many small merchants, local vendors and self-employed individuals find it difficult to afford a mobile PoS (point of sale). At the same time, it is important for them to have such a device to match different customer preferences for the mode of payment. A new form of PoS, called Soft PoS or Software PoS, aims to fill this gap by converting a smartphone or tablet into a terminal for digital payments. Hence, no additional hardware is needed to enable digital payments.

Counterpoint Research PoS evolution
Source: Counterpoint Research

Smartphone/tablet as Digital payment terminal

Soft POS solutions, like All Tap by Pine Labs, transform a smartphone or tablet into a payment terminal. Here are some of their basic characteristics:

  • These solutions are available for free only on Google Play Store.
  • They are compatible with smartphones embedded with NFC (near-field communication) chips.
  • Smartphone as a PoS terminal provides all digital payment options in one application, including debit/credit cards (across all four networks), wallet, BQR and UPI.
  • Based on the occupation, a transaction limit is set for the entrepreneur.
  • The onboarding procedure is user-friendly, and one SIM holder can have one account.
  • When changing the smartphone, the user needs to go through only the authentication step of onboarding.
  • To abide by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) regulations, PIN-less transactions of only up to Rs 5,000 are allowed.
  • The solutions are cryptographically secured.
Counterpoint Research Smartphone as PoS Terminal
Source: Counterpoint Research

How secure are these solutions in terms of hardware?

Handling finances via cellular devices brings the security aspect under the scanner. Both hardware and software security of cellular devices have an important role in ensuring user data security and privacy. However, in H1 2020, only 4.18% of the smartphones in India were estimated to have secure hardware. This number is expected to reach 9% by the end of 2021. Further, it may be noted that this portion is mainly composed of smartphones from the premium segment. But since these solutions are targeted at those who can’t afford a PoS machine, it is more likely that smartphones with poor hardware security will be used with them.

Therefore, despite ensuring software security, which most brands claim to, the smartphones from non-premium price bands are not exactly the right fit for these digital payment solutions.

Challenges in implementing these solutions.

Apart from the above-mentioned concerns related to hardware, there are other challenges in transforming smartphones into PoS terminals:

  • These solutions only work with smartphones embedded with NFC, which is still a niche market in India.
  • Spreading awareness about these user-friendly solutions in all parts of a vast country like India can become challenging due to inadequate infrastructure.
  • A major segment of the target population for these solutions is composed of those who prefer cash transactions. Bringing about a behavioural change in them is not easy.
  • Cash transactions are often used to avoid taxes. But these solutions record all transactions undertaken through them.

Stronger Adoption of Digital Payment Ecosystem

Digitization in the financial segment brings a competitive edge to a country’s economy by amplifying the velocity with which the movement of money takes place. It also acts as a multiplier for other industries linked to it.

In India, over the last decade and especially after demonetization, innovations in payment modes have evolved, from the online payment mode to UPI apps. The lockdowns and social distancing triggered by COVID-19 have accelerated the shift to digital modes. Also, RuPay cards of the National Payments Corporation of India now allow offline transactions in areas with low internet connectivity.

Growing preference for digital payment modes like UPI, wallets, PoS and QR codes as against cash or debit/credit card transactions has put pressure on businesses and self-employed people to have PoS devices.


A small business or solo entrepreneur cannot always afford a PoS terminal. Besides, some may find it difficult to operate them. It is in these cases that the above-mentioned solutions come to the rescue. They transform a smartphone into a PoS terminal that provides a simpler and familiar user interface. With almost 40% penetration in India, smartphones are the best mode to promote digital payments. Further, these payment solutions do not require any additional investment.

However, the low penetration of smartphones with secure hardware in India means that users availing of these solutions may end up exposing confidential data to attacks. Therefore, apart from having a bigger market for NFC-enabled smartphones, it becomes important for smartphone manufacturers to improve hardware security to let users benefit from these solutions.

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