Spurred on by demonetisation and a move towards a “less-cash” India, mobile wallets have been some of the companies that have witnessed a boom in the last few months. On Monday, Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma tweeted that the company has crossed a major milestone – 200 million wallets. It claimed to have crossed the 100-million mark in August 2015, a year after the wallet launched.
In a blog post, the company noted that it started 2016 with 122 million users – over the course of the entire year, it grew to 177 million, or about 55 million users. In the last two months, it’s added the remaining 23 million, which shows just how much of a boost demonetisation gave to Paytm.
In the tweet, Sharma mentions that the company has a milestone of 500 million by 2020; that’s an additional 300 million users in three years, which should be possible if the company continues to add users at the same rate. However, there are some challenges to this – for one thing, according to Statista, the total number of smartphone users in India in 2020 will be 444 million – and many of these new users will be in rural India with low-end devices. Capturing this market will not be easy, and of course, it’s unlikely that a single company will serve all the users in the market.
Another detail revealed in the tweet is the total number of cash in wallets Rs. 899.11 crores. The total number of wallets with money or a saved card is 106.8 million. Based on this, you can see that the average wallet balance is just Rs. 84. Since some people are keeping larger amounts in their wallets (for Uber’s minimum balance, or day to day spending), from this you can infer that most people are using the wallet simply as a processor, topping it up with a saved card whenever they need to make a spend, instead of keeping money in the wallet. What this will mean for Paytm, once the cash situation normalises in India, will be interesting to see.