Millennials – the most important generation of the current era as far as most businesses are concerned.
This group – generally defined as being born between the early 1980s and the turn of the century – represent the largest generation in American history, according to Census Bureau data cited by the American Banking Association. Numbering around 84 million, they make up more than a quarter of the population of the United States.
The interests, opinions and expectations of millennials have been shaped by some of the most seismic events of recent times, such as the internet boom and the 2008 financial crisis. If your bank wants to keep up with the trends influencing how consumers interact with businesses today and in the future, it’s pretty important to get in tune with millennials.
What do millennials expect from banking services?
Having lived through what many commentators have called the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s, many millennials are understandably cautious when it comes to money, and want their banks to be a source of guidance and support in their financial affairs.
In a survey by Accenture, just over two-thirds (67 per cent) of millennials in the US said they wanted help with managing their money and would be interested if their bank provided budgeting tools.
Delivering these sorts of services could help financial services providers build more positive relationships with their customers, after research identified banking as the industry at the highest risk of disruption by millennials. The Millennial Disruption Index revealed that over two-thirds (68 per cent) of this generation believe that, in five years, the way people access their money will be totally different. A similar number (70 per cent) thought the way we pay for things will look very different in five years’ time.
This emphasizes the importance of banks keeping up to date with the latest payment services and consumer experience trends to ensure they are able to deliver what their customers want.
Millennials appear to be a fairly responsible group when it comes to money management, with 86 per cent putting money into savings every month, according to a Facebook IQ whitepaper. Paying down debt (43 per cent) and saving for the future (38 per cent) emerged as the top two financial priorities for this demographic.
Members of this generation are likely to expect similarly positive values and practices from their banks, particularly with the financial crisis still so fresh in the memory.
Mobile is king
It goes without saying that technology – and particularly mobile – is a critical element of the millennial lifestyle and will become more and more central to the services these consumers use every day.
The Facebook IQ figures showed that 77 per cent of millennials keep their mobile phone with them at all times, while 71 per cent believe mobile banking tools have made it easier to keep track of their money.
Millennials have grown up in the age of tech giants like Apple, Amazon and Google, an era when technology has not only become more powerful and prevalent, but more reliable and user-friendly than ever before. Members of this generation are increasingly expecting the same service levels and customer experience standards from their banks. Those that fail to invest in meeting these expectations run the risk of falling out of touch and behind the competition.