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More than one-third of top North American retailers accept Apple Pay (36%) and PayPal (34%), and an additional fifth expect to accept these payment options within a year. That’s according to the 18th annual POS/Customer Engagement Survey [download page] from Boston Retail Partners (BRP), which is based on a survey of more than 500 top North American retailers.

The survey results indicate that Apple Pay and PayPal are clearly the favorite mobile payment options among these retailers, with only around 40% accepting or planning to accept within a year both MasterCard PayPass and Android Pay.

Apple Pay in particular has seen a large increase in adoption, with the 36% of retailers now accepting this form of payment being more than twice the share from last year (16%). Apple Pay bumped PayPal out of the top spot, despite indications that smartphone owners have much higher awareness of PayPal and that it’s the most commonly used mobile payment method by youth.

Separately, the BRP study takes a look at how retailers are personalizing the shopping experience. The most common way by which retailers tailor the experience is by offering personalized rewards based on customer loyalty, currently offered by 34% of retailers (up from 14% last year) and by suggested selling based on previous purchases (offered by 24%, up from 14%).

The ability to customize experiences and suggest selling depends on available data on the customer. On that end, more than one-third (36%) of retailers are able to look up a previous customer transaction prior to checkout, while roughly one-third can access contact information (32%) and shopping history (32%). As the analysts note, however, almost 4 in 5 retailers are not providing customer attributes/preferences data to associates pre-checkout, something that would help influence a sale.

About the Data: Boston Retail Partners conducted the 18th Annual POS/Customer Engagement Benchmarking Survey in November and December of 2016 by contacting more than 500 top North American retailers. A majority (54%) of respondents come from companies with at least $1 billion in annual revenues. The Specialty-Hard Goods (41%) and Specialty-Soft Goods (28%) categories were most heavily represented. Some 63% of retailers surveyed are multi-channel. The specific respondents for each company were primarily vice presidents and directors of store systems or IT and C-level executives.

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