US banking customers’ mobile move likely to outlast pandemic

Customers who shifted their banking channel usage from branches to mobile apps during the coronavirus pandemic are likely to maintain their habits, per S&P Global Market Intelligence’s 2021 US Mobile Banking Survey. 

  • Close to 52% of overall respondents said that they have reduced branch visits since the pandemic’s onset. 
  • More than 65% of them reported that they were using mobile banking apps more often.
  • And almost 88% of respondents who increased their mobile app usage also expect to either maintain or increase their frequency of app use going forward. 

Younger generations were more likely to have changed their banking habits. S&P Global Market Intelligence found that more than 50% of Gen Zers, mIllennials, and Gen Xers are using mobile apps more frequently, compared with a little over 40% for baby boomers and Seniors. Additionally, more than half of the two oldest generations said that they didn’t make changes to their mobile app usage.

Growing mobile usage is coupled with the potential for customers to open accounts with neobanks. Even as the mobile channel shift was common, just 8% of respondents said that they currently have an account with a branchless bank—but almost 44% indicated that they were likely to open one in the future. The difference between current and future account activity indicates that neobanks have a sizable addressable market moving forward, and that incumbent banks have a possible looming competitive threat. However, it remains to be seen whether a significant number will pick branchless banks to serve as their primary ones or choose them for second place—the vast majority of current neobank account holders (83%) have a primary relationship with one of the top 20 US banks, according to a Javelin survey.