Cash is beginning to seem like the "Dead Man Who Says He Isn't" from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail": "I'm not dead yet!" he insists, despite various assertions that he has expired.
Cash isn't even close to dead yet, according to a new study from London-based strategic research and consulting firm, RBR. "Despite speculation about the emergence of cashless societies, it seems that worldwide the demand for ATMs and cash withdrawals will remain high," the report predicted.
The study, "Global ATM Market and Forecasts to 2017," projected huge growth in demand for cash withdrawal services in the coming years, particularly from emerging markets. In turn, this demand will set the stage for global growth in the ATM market, RBR said.
Some emerging markets will explode over the next few years, the report said, with the number of ATM cash withdrawals projected to rise by around 90 percent in Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and African regions between 2011 and 2017.
Globally, the total number of cash withdrawals is expected to rise at a rate of 8 percent per year, compared with ATM installation grown of 7 percent per year.
Enormous numbers of people in emerging markets lack access to ATMs or other banking services, which means that the potential for new ATMs and ATM use in these regions is immense.
Huge numbers of new customers entering banking systems will combine with government programs designed to encourage use of cards to access bank accounts. This will bring about such an increase in ATM withdrawal volumes that operators will be forced to ramp up their deployment of ATMs.
In Middle Eastern and African regions, Iran is expected to show the strongest growth. Demand for ATM services there will cause the country's installed ATM base to almost double between 2011 and 2017 to 50,000 ATMs. The annual volume of withdrawals in the market is predicted to grow by 122 percent over the same period.
In the Asia Pacific region, most growth will come from China and India. The Chinese installed base of ATMs expanded by almost 60,000 machines in 2011, while Indian deployers added nearly 20,000 new ATMs during that year. In 2013, installations in India are expected to grow by a further 60,000, at minimum.
Along with other fastâgrowing markets such as Russia, these markets are expected to push the total global installed base of ATMs to 3.5 million by 2017.
Read more about trends and statistics.
graphic: "Global ATM Market and Forecasts to 2017 (RBR)