28 November 2020

Financial Apps See Higher Usage Among Customers in Lockdown

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Brief: 

Banking, finance and payment apps this year have seen a surge in activity as consumers use their mobile devices to help manage their money. The time spent in banking and payment apps rose 8.9% to an average of 8.4 minutes this year from 7.7 minutes in 2019, per study results from app marketing platform Adjust and analytics firm Apptopia.

Acorns, Gatsby and Stash are among the investment apps that have seen a surge in activity this year. With more people trading securities on their smartphones, investment apps saw an 88% jump in the average number of daily user sessions from January to June. That growth was faster than the increase for casual and hyper-casual games, the study found.

Financial institutions are seeing lower costs to acquire new users, with the effective cost per install (eCPI) rate falling 77% from February to May, a period when pandemic lockdowns were going into effect, leading people to use banking and payment apps more often, according to the study of more than 270 finance apps worldwide.

Insight: 

Financial services companies must offer a broader range of services in their mobile apps as consumers use their smartphones to handle everything from payments to stock trades during the pandemic. The health crisis has led many banks, brokerages and investment advisers to either close their offices temporarily or require employees to work from home, while many of their customers have stayed at home to limit in-person contact. Those sudden changes in behavior make apps more important in providing financial services, especially to customers who may be facing economic hardship.

Adjust and Apptopia's study found several regional differences in the usage of financial apps. Payment apps experienced an average 49% jump in users sessions worldwide, with notable strength in Japan (75%), Germany (45%), Turkey (39%), the U.S. (33%) and the U.K. (29%). Banking and payment apps combined saw a 26% average jump in user activity, with the biggest growth in Japan (142%), Germany (40%), Turkey (31%) and the U.S. (27%). Those results indicate that consumers in several countries were more likely to rely on financial apps during the pandemic.

Fintech apps experienced their strongest growth in Q2 as many countries enacted lockdowns. Argentina saw a 72% jump in the time spent in financial apps from a year earlier, faster than the 62% growth for Ukraine, 50% for Russia and Brazil and 21% for Japan. Those differences may indicate that lesser developed countries saw the biggest gains in usage from a smaller base, but they signal that apps are becoming a more significant customer service channel for financial services companies.

As lockdowns ease, consumers that have become more accustomed to using apps for financial services may continue to do so, creating an opportunity for these apps to expand their services. This week, popular payments app Venmo launched its first credit card as it banks on its userbase to expand into new areas.

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