New data from the UK's Office of National Statistics demonstrates the critical importance to banks of mobile and social channels to the consumer, with 91% of young adults connected to social networking sites, and nearly half of all Web users accessing the Internet via their mobile phone.
The information, which comes from the ONS opinions survey, shows that 45% of Internet users accessed the Internet via a mobile phone in 2011.
Access to the Web while on the move is a growing trend, with 4.9 million people connecting from wireless hotspots in 2011, double the numbers from last year.
Social networking, likewise, is becoming more popular, with 57% of adult Internet users using online social networks in 2011, up from 43% in 2010.
Young consumers are leading the trend, with 71% of 16-24 year olds using their phone to access the Web, and an overwhelming 91% now using social networking sites.
The UK data is in line with international trends. A just-published survey of 12,000+ Canadian consumers issued by JD Power & Associates finds social media emerging as an increasingly important alternative to traditional retail banking channels.
More than 60% of retail banking customers responding to the poll say they use social media. Among customers who use social media for banking purposes, 24% indicate they use it to discuss their banking experience or inform their bank of a customer service issue.