A new study from Juniper Research finds that contactless ticketing users will reach 468 million by 2023, up from an estimated 180 million in 2019. Consequently, 1 in 4 digital tickets purchased in 2023 will be contactless.

The research group transport says ticketing, particularly the metro/bus ticketing arena, will drive the growth of contactless adoption. This is due to successful deployments, such as Transport for London, which accounted for 760 million contactless journeys in the year up to September 2018. Juniper forecasts that metro/bus ticketing will account for 86% of all contactless ticketing in 2023.

Contactless ticketing will continue to play a limited role in events ticketing, with transactions forecast to reach only 800 million in 2023 — representing just 6.5% of digital event ticketing transactions by then. While several sports events, such as the 2018 FIFA World Cup, have demonstrated this approach, not enough is being done by venues to take advantage of it and other solutions, such as QR via mobile app, are playing a more dominant role, according to Juniper.

“With far higher compatibility with devices and lower installation costs than with contactless, QR-code mobile app ticketing will dominate events ticketing,” says research author Nick Maynard. “Mobile app ticketing for events will allow targeted advertising to fans, as well as ticketing anti-fraud measures, which will add value for venues.”

Juniper also found that wearable ticketing will continue to be a niche prospect, with wearable ticketing transactions only accounting for less than 5% of total digital ticketing transactions in 2023. While wearable ticketing is convenient, the range of devices sophisticated enough to handle ticketing applications is still very small. The trend to hybrid smartwatches means that many new devices are not capable of ticketing. Juniper predicts that, unless this changes, wearable ticketing will remain a fundamentally limited area.