Mobile Intelligence: Where Mobile Adoption In Financial Services Stands Today

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In our quarterly survey of approximately 1,200 financial product owners – Compete’s Mobile FS Intelligence survey – we seek to understand sentiment on the mobile channel across the banking, credit card, brokerage, and auto insurance industries. In this blog, I’ll share a little bit about where mobile adoption in financial services stands today.

In terms of overall adoption, in Q2 2011 36% of financial service account owners (bank, credit card, brokerage, or auto insurance) were using a mobile device (smartphone or tablet) to manage their accounts or conduct financial transactions. When you look at individual sub-industries, however, the story is a little different.

Banking has the highest mobile adoption rate in financial services

Looking at the performance of individual financial service sub-industries in the chart below, we see that mobile wallet adoption is most prevalent in banking (checking and/or savings) and least prevalent in auto insurance. In Q2 2011, 54% of bank account owners used their phone or tablet to manage their checking or savings account and make transactions. The next highest adoption rate in financial services was among credit card owners with 36% of card owners using their mobile device to manage their account or make transactions. In brokerage, 28% of account owners used investing mobile services and just 17% of auto insurance consumers managed their policy with their mobile device.

What the mobile clickstream data say about mobile adoption in financial services

Looking at mobile clickstream data we see this same pattern across sub-industries where banking and card companies dominate. In June 2011, Bank of America and Chase both saw 1.8 million unique visitors access their mobile websites making them the highest-trafficked financial services sites on mobile devices. Capital One and Wells Fargo both saw 1.5 million unique visitors access their site in June. After these four companies, mobile use drops significantly among other financial service firms with the next highest visited site, HSBC, seeing only .5 million unique visitors in June.

Key Takeaway for Mobile Marketers: All Mobile FS Audiences Are Not Created Equal

So what do these data points mean for financial services marketers? Certainly, the numbers show that as adoption of smartphones and tablets accelerates, financial service companies can rely on the mobile channel to connect with customers. They are clearly interested. But what is also important to note is that financial services are unique sub-industries and consumers of these diverse products have unique behaviors and motivations when it comes to mobile service adoption.

Consumers are differently motivated to adopt mobile services depending on the financial product, and barriers to adoption differ across products and sub-industries. When developing the mobile channel, financial service audiences should be considered separately – and right now a lot of reports out there lump all financial service consumers behavior and sentiment together. Our study clearly demonstrates the need for more granular, sub-industry specific insight.

Let me know what you are interested in learning about in terms of mobile financial services, okay?

Check out Compete’s newest whitepapers on Mobile Money and Mobile Banking

About Jennifer Canfield:
Jennifer Johnston Canfield is a Senior Associate in Financial Services at Compete. Jennifer is responsible for providing competitive analysis to financial services clients. Before Jennifer joined the Compete team she was a social media marketing consultant. Connect with Jennifer on Twitter (@jbjcanfield) or LinkedIn (