Banking & Finance

Online consumers in Asia buy three times more banking products than less tech-savvy peers, says McKinsey

The trend is a wake-up call to lenders to increase and improve their digital offerings, says the consultancy

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 April, 2018, 6:30am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 April, 2018, 6:30am

Asia’s growing population of digitally active consumers are buying three times as many banking products as their less tech-savvy peers, prompting lenders to improve their online offerings, according to a new McKinsey report.

Each online banking customer purchased 1.6 products on average in the last 12 months, while traditional customers – who prefer to visit a branch – bought just 0.5, said McKinsey in the survey published on Tuesday.

And the digital customers owned an average of 4.4 products, said the report, about 40 per cent more than those who don’t use digital channels at all.

McKinsey conducted the survey in the second half of 2017 to garner opinions from 17,000 consumers in 15 Asian markets, including Australia, mainland China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea and Vietnam.

“The survey findings come as new, and more pronounced evidence of the value creation of digital savvy consumers to banks,” said Nicole Zhou, a Beijing-based partner at McKinsey.

To banks, online consumers come with two distinct advantages: they not only spend more but are cheaper to serve too, since many transactions are done through self-service channels.

Banks in the region, especially smaller lenders, need to act quickly to generate more value from their digital operations, said Zhou.

A wider choice of online products and services, better consumer experiences and the popularity of smartphones have helped push more customers towards internet banking.

In Hong Kong, the proportion of digitally active customers grew to 87 per cent in 2017 from 76 per cent three years ago. The figure for mainland China more than tripled to 60 per cent in the same period.

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McKinsey’s study also found that in developed Asian markets, internet banking penetration rose to 97 per cent in 2017, up from 92 per cent three years ago. For the region’s emerging markets, the penetration climbed to 52 per cent from 33 per cent.

Digital penetration is defined as the number of internet banking as a percentage of total consumers. The survey defines digitally active customers as those who turn to online banking at least once every two weeks and who have made e-commerce purchases in the past six months.

Despite the strong figures, banks have plenty of room to improve their digital channels.

For instance, consumer satisfaction with digital banking channels remains low at between 30 and 40 per cent in Hong Kong, suggesting banks need to respond more quickly to satisfy the changing needs of customers.