A full 68 per cent of us now conduct our banking online, and 63 per cent would do all of our banking on a website or mobile app if we could, according to a recent survey of 1260 Canadians conducted by Yahoo Canada and market research firm Fresh Intelligence.

“That’s a staggering statistic – 63 per cent,” Shannon Kelley, a senior research analyst at Yahoo who led the study, told ITBusiness.ca, noting that when Yahoo conducted a similar study in 2013 the number was 52 per cent. “It really underlines that if Canadian banks want to reach their customers, digital is key.”

The survey, which Yahoo conducted to provide Canadian banks with a snapshot of their modern consumer base, also discovered that nearly one in five had switched banks during the past five years. When asked why they would leave one service provider for another, nearly half of respondents cited the opportunity for better service or more savings, and among the fastest-growing segments – students, millennials, and new Canadians – an easy-to-use, function-rich mobile app was key.

Shannon Kelley
Yahoo’s Shannon Kelley

The importance placed on an accessible mobile app was the study’s other big surprise for Kelley, who wanted to find out why Canadians would – or wouldn’t – use one for banking.

“We had a notion that questioning security would be the number one barrier,” she said, “and what we found was that the thing that’s really driving customers to use mobile apps isn’t so much security but, ‘does it fit my needs?’ and ‘Is it convenient?’ Security was second to that.”

Another goal of the study was to determine which factors could most effectively reach new users, dividing respondents into six segments: new Canadians, students (ages 18 – 30), millennials, boomers, parents, and self-directed investors.

Across the board, lower fees were the most important factor, followed by customer service, Kelley said. An easy-to-use website and good reputation were tied for third.

Beyond that, however, the differences were striking: millennials preferred incentives and cash prizes, for example, while parents valued personalized banking products and convenience.

Kelley hopes that if the banking industry takes anything away from Yahoo’s study, it’s that the market for high-quality digital services keeps growing, and – as evidenced by the high number willing to switch banks to receive it – is often driven by consumers themselves.

“I think banks need to understand how important it is to pay attention to consumers… and to offer services that meet Canadians’ needs,” she said.

One other statistic they might want to pay attention to: the fact that 82 per cent of Canadians conduct research before acquiring a new service or product.

“I think that’s a great stat for banks and marketers to take away,” Kelley said. “There’s plenty of room to engage and educate Canadians as they’re doing their research.”

For a summary of the study’s key findings, click on the infographic below.

Yahoo Talking Finance infographic

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