Deborah Sumner, VP, Financial Services Practice Lead
The mobile banking consumer carries a higher balance than the average banking consumer and has a greater net worth. While still only representing a small percentage of banking households, that number is increasing. Understanding the unique needs of this lucrative segment could mean winning and retaining valuable customers. To get into the mindset of the mobile banking consumer, Nielsen profiles five segments of consumers and offers strategies on how to reach them.
Consumer confidence and comfort levels for mobile transactions are at an all time high. For financial institutions, mobile banking creates efficiencies, cost savings, drives customer loyalty, engages new segments and offers real-time solutions. For consumers, mobile banking offers a consistent experience, improved speed of information and empowerment. But to truly understand the needs of the mobile banking user, banks must go beyond basic mobile services and learn how consumers interact with financial institutions.
Nielsen examined the mobile banking user and found that 13.2 percent of households accessed their bank account via a mobile device in second quarter 2010 versus 20.8 percent who accessed their account via the bank’s customer service call center. While mobile access penetration is lower than other channels, it has grown from 11.6 percent in first quarter and call center access has remained relatively flat quarter-over-quarter.
Mobile banking users also bring greater value to an institution by maintaining higher average balances ($64,303) versus ($48,384) for the average customer and greater net worth ($341,017) versus their online banking counterparts ($313,346) or the market average ($281,263).
Who is the Mobile Banker?
Unlike other channel strategies, mobile banking defies specific demographic categories such as age and income. Nielsen identified distinct characteristics of the mobile banker and grouped them into five segments, each with a specific mobile mindset. In order to deliver true customer value and a unique customer experience, it is necessary to know what drives the mobile banking consumer.
Mobile Office Workers
Representing 14.8 percent of mobile bankers and 9 percent of the U.S. population, this group of image-conscious, brand-centric, career-minded multi-taskers likes to stand out in the crowd.
Mobile Office Workers are younger to middle age (35-54) and are more likely to engage in mobile banking than any of the other groups. They rank highest for smartphone ownership and they stay connected by consuming information such as news, sports and finance. Their friends are a big part of their lives—even more important than their families.
Both Mobile Basics and In Touch, On the Go are middle age (35-54) and are more likely to own a feature phone. They have a lower propensity to mobile bank and use their phones for the most basic needs of communicating with family and checking balances. Both groups use a variety of credit to manage their cash flow and they are generally not savers except for retirement or their children’s college.
Cashing in on Opportunities
Mobile banking provides rewarding opportunities to financial institutions who know how to connect with the right consumer groups:
It’s hard to deny the ubiquity of the mobile phone and mobile banking is the perfect complement, which offers something for every degree of technology adoption and comfort level. SMS, mobile web and downloadable applications provide a variety of simple functionality to a higher level of sophistication that is core to delivering unique customer engagements. It’s important for banks to be able to connect the banking behavior to the face and mindset of the mobile consumer to deliver a relevant and valuable user experience.