Examining the statistics worldwide on cash issuance and usage, one concludes that while, as stated above, the rate of growth in cash (not cash itself) may be declining in some countries, cash overall continues to grow worldwide between 5% and 8% per year.
Supporting this trend are the following banknote circulation and growth charts from the European Central Bank (ECB) and the US Federal Reserve respectively:
The Bank of England banknote statistics in the two tables below clearly demonstrate that every indicator for cash in circulation is up:
Despite strong growth in the use of electronic payment methods in Australia, the RBA notes that demand for cash continues to grow, at rate of around 5% per annum over the past decade and totaling around 1.3 billion banknotes in circulation as at the beginning of 2014. Consumer studies show that cash is used for 60% of all transactions, rising to 80% for transactions under $25.
Giesecke & Devrient predicts the yearly growth of banknote circulation at +4%:
Cash is the preferred method of payment all over the world – over 50 per cent of people prefer to pay with notes and coins. Despite predictions that currency as a means of exchange will become obsolete in an increasingly technological world, cash usage remains strong. The alternatives of cheques, cards and electronic payment have not substantially reduced our reliance on cash – as the evidence shows.
Cash continues to be a preferred method of payment worldwide, and in some cases the preferred method. In a recent US Federal Reserve study on payment trends presented at ICCOS 2012, cash was the second choice for the majority of cases where other payment methods were the first choice.55 These findings are discussed below in Myth #7.
Similarly, coin circulation is in a growth mode, as seen from this slide presented at the October 2013 Coin Conference by the International Association of Currency Affairs (IACA):
In the May 2013 Currency Conference session, “The Impact of Payments Innovation on Consumer Cash Usage: Not as much as you think,” Patrick Anderson of Loomis AB and David Evans of Market Platform Dynamics (MPD) presented the following slide, which predicts a decline in the propensity to use cash in only three countries by 2020:
Source: Cash Repository