A recent study by Ericsson revealed 10 hot consumer trends for 2012. Although these are mainly general mobile trends, all of them do have a clear imprint in the financial services industry. In this post I sum up the Ericsson study and enhance their general
trends with my interpretation for the financial services industry.
Trend 1: Connectivity is king
“Connectivity has become as essential as roads and electricity.” – Ericsson says.
Yes, connectivity is a must indeed. So, it is a high time to enable a convenient banking experience on mobile devices. Customers want to connect to their banks anytime anywhere. They will use their PC if they want to bank from their offices, they turn to their
tablet when they are having a cappuccino in a cafeteria, and they use their smartphone while they are travelling. Do not neglect the importance of optimizing the services for the different devices!
Trend 2: Everyone can be a service provider
“The race to become mobile service providers is open to everyone.”
Providing online financial services is not a privilege of the banks any more. Just take 3rd party PFM providers, or payment providers such as PayPal, or mobile payment providers like MNOs. Banks should improve their services on these areas else they will lose
their business and market share gradually.
Trend 3: Social media redefine news reporting
“Social networks have become true media hubs […] And now serious news reporting is being redefined […] Social media also provided necessary commentary when it was difficult to trust or interpret the validity of other news sources.”
Social media became a very important information source for everyone. If banks do not care about being present here, they just ignore a very important communication channel to their customers. And mobile is important even in the social media: according to the
study: “More than 250 million Facebook users are mobile – and being twice as active as non-mobile users, they account for up to half of overall Facebook activity.”
Trend 4: Mobile phones play a significant role in everyday life
“When asked what they carry with them when leaving home, 90 percent of all smartphone owners said they always take their phones and their keys – but only 80 percent mentioned money.”
It is a clear call for mobile wallet, isn’t it?
Trend 5: Transparency greater than privacy
“People are getting used to living a more or less transparent life. They certainly also expect companies and other organizations to act as transparently.“
Transparency is a controversial topic especially in the financial services industry. What the study states, it is that people are getting less shy – they are willing to disclose more and more information about themselves – thus also about their finances.
Even more important is that people expect from their providers to be more and more transparent – also from their bank.
Trend 6: The cloud makes things easy to use
“…36 percent (of the people) wanted to connect their iPods or MP3 players to directly download music, and 30 percent wanted to connect their portable game devices to access an online game store.”
We do not love the technology on itself: we love technology because it makes our life simpler. Cloud computing does ensure convenient services for the customers and customers became used to the intuitive user interfaces and to the easy-to-use services. This
means that if you design a new service, user experience should be your main focus – if one’s new service is not easy to use, then it is better not to launch it.
Trend 7: Women drive adoption of smartphones
“In our 2011 survey of smartphone users in the US and the UK, more men than women use lower-penetration services such as VoIP and video telephony, and they are also more likely to download new apps. On the other hand, significantly more women use higher-penetration
services such as voice calling, SMS and Facebook.”
Since people use their devices in very different ways, online banking services should be designed for different ways of usage. This creates a new challenge. That is why people like using personas (that represents a group of customers) when creating online banking
services: this approach helps them to identify the major user groups of the service and also their user-group specific expectations.
Trend 8: Making shopping easier
“When we recently asked smartphone users in Berlin, New York, Paris and Shanghai, 67 percent said they wanted to be able to make small payments using their phones. Sixty six percent were interested in mobile banking. But payments should not be seen in isolation.
… they quite clearly told us that going directly for their wallets is not the best approach. Mobile payments must be put in the context of everyday shopping habits.”
This is a clear statement; there is no need for any comment here.
Trend 9: Everything connects
“Ericsson ConsumerLab has for many years seen an interest among consumers in directly interacting with places and things in their urban surroundings. This is now happening as homes, cars, ticket gates, vending machines, cash registers and facilities are increasingly
getting connected to the internet.”
It is time to connect all banking devices, like ATMs or kiosks, to the internet. But I also want to see online banking services to be better integrated into our daily life.
Trend 10: Uncertain times – consumers strive for control
“A change in disposable income is also driving demand for consumer control of services consumed. Better overview and control bring increasing benefits for everyday life.”
All in all, the Ericsson study showed us, how the technology changed our daily habits and thus ourselves. Banks, keep on following these trends and enormous changes!