Just as the "paperless office" hasn't really materialized, neither has the paperless pocket.
With data connections to ticketing services and banks, along with large, high-resolution screens, smartphones can easily replace admission tickets and even cash or credit cards. But few people have tried that out — and many are nervous about doing so. Those are the results from a new survey of 2,056 adults conducted in February by polling firm Harris Interactive.
According to the survey, a paltry 5 percent of Americans have ever ditched the paper ticket in favor of downloading and displaying on their smartphone screens movie tickets or fight boarding passes. And just 3 percent have done it for concert or live theater tickets.
People can also use smartphones to make payments - for example, using the Starbucks app to display a scannable barcode to buy coffee. But only 3 percent of people have gotten their caffeine fix that way — or used the tech to buy clothing or electronics.
And it's not just old fogies who are slow to change. Gen Yers (aged 18 to 35) lead in the technology, but are still just a sliver. 10 percent, for example, have used smartphones as movie tickets, vs. 5 percent of Gen Xers and 2 percent of boomers. But still, that's just 10 percent.
And 41 percent of Gen Yers have never used a smartphone to replace paper tickets or money — about the same figure as in other age groups — even though Gen Yers are more likely than the others to own smartphones.
Only a quarter of them are comfortable with the idea of using a smartphone in place of cash or credit cards, and nearly a third say that paper money will never go away for most purchaes (about the same as other age groups answered the question).
As Google rolls its Google Wallet cellphone-based payment tech to more devices, and Apple receives a patent for similar tech called iWallet, the companies clearly have a big PR job ahead of them getting folks to sign on.