Tech-savvy customers favouring non-major banks

The major Australian banks are falling behind the smaller and regional banks when it comes to capturing early adopters of technology, new research has revealed.

A survey of 50,000 Australians by Roy Morgan Research found that the percentage of ‘technology early adopter’ customers in the big four banks’ customer bases is close to the population average.

Less than one in five Australians (18.7 per cent) can be classified as technology early adopters, Roy Morgan said.

“Early adopters are always first to purchase and use new technologies and generally set the trend for the broader market to follow, making it crucial for banks to understand how they are performing among this group,” it said.

The six banks with the highest proportion of early adopters among their customer bases are all smaller or regional banks, according to the research.

“Teachers Mutual Bank leads with 29.2 per cent of its customers being from this group, which is 56 per cent higher than the population average of 18.7 per cent,” Roy Morgan said.

Commonwealth Bank and ANZ are 7 per cent above average when it comes to early adopters of technology, while Westpac is 8 per cent above average. NAB is 3 per cent below average.

“Among the other major banks there are a number of below-average performers, with Bendigo Bank well below average (33 per cent below), Heritage Bank (23 per cent below) and Bank SA (13 per cent below),” Roy Morgan said.

Norman Morris, industry communications director at Roy Morgan, said that while the smaller banks are leading in attracting tech-savvy customers, they are likely to face challenges from better-resourced major banks and fintech ‘disruptors’.

“The success of all players in financial services will not only depend on their ability to attract early adopters, but will depend ultimately on moving to the ‘mass market’ stage and ‘market maturity’, where the majority of the population have transitioned to this new era in banking,” he said.

[Related: Fintech threatens Australia’s major banks]

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