Chicago (February 1, 2010)—On the heels of a year full of economic turmoil and uncertainty, Mintel Comperemedia forecasts five consumer-focused trends that will impact the financial services industry in 2010. Using Mintel’s proprietary consumer data and the expert analysis of behavioral economist Susan Menke, Mintel Comperemedia looks at how consumers’ actions and beliefs about their finances will change next year…and how this will impact companies trying to do business with them.
“The 2010 financial services consumer has seen economic hardship and he or she is cautious when it comes to spending money. This person also feels mistrustful of large financial institutions,” explains Susan Menke. “On the positive side, people are increasingly moving their lives online and connecting with one another—and with businesses—in new ways. Financial services companies have ample opportunities to strengthen customer relationships in 2010.”
1. The New Frugal
The “New Normal” behavior we’ve been talking about for the last year and a half—saving more, spending less, seeking simplicity—is here to stay. This “New Frugality” has sharpened people’s desire for fewer belongings and simpler finances. Nearly eight in 10 people (78%) told Mintel they’ve been simplifying their lives lately, while 21% said they saved more in 2009.
Americans plan to continue on this cautious, conservative track in 2010. More than three-fourths of Mintel survey respondents said they intend to permanently increase their savings rate, and 84% said they plan to be more conservative with money in the future.
2. Rebuilding Trust
Brand perception and consumer trust are major concerns for today’s banking community. In a recent Mintel survey, more than seven in 10 adults said they’ve lost trust in the financial services category as a whole.
“Companies need to regain people’s trust, but they need to do it on the people’s terms,” states Susan Menke. “By trusting a financial institution, customers are in essence allowing that brand to make decisions for them. In order to get to that point, companies need to look at trust from the individual’s perspective, focusing on values like honesty, fairness and consistency. They need to make the customer feel safe and secure.”
3. Convergence
Convergence—the merging of technologies or industries—is a major trend across financial services sectors as companies try to tap into the next best thing. Innovations like mobile banking and mobile payments help financial institutions stay ahead of the competition. In 2010, however, the key will be making sure consumers feel comfortable and confident with new convergent technologies.
Currently, about a third of consumers say they don’t want to use mobile banking or mobile payments because they’re worried about security. To assuage those fears, financial institutions need to focus on making new convergent technologies seem secure, useful, even necessary for time-strapped, budget-minded consumers.
4. Social Media
Believe it or not, Mintel survey data suggests that consumers aren’t against social networking with their bank or credit card company. Only one in four respondents told Mintel they think financial services companies on social networking websites are annoying. Moreover, 16% said they’d follow a financial services company for coupons while 11% would follow for contests or promotions.
“Social media is rich with opportunities for financial services institutions, but companies need to be mindful of the medium’s nuances. Marketing on social media is about making connections and establishing strong, trusting relationships, ” comments Susan Menke.
5. Banking 2.0
The banking industry is changing rapidly, so companies need to stay on top of new trends to stay ahead. Mintel surveys suggest 68% of the population could be at risk of moving to another bank or a banking alternative because they’re dissatisfied with financial services providers.
In order to stop the exodus, financial companies need to focus on what people really want. “Looking at the success stories of last year, we see that people crave open, honest communication. People want advice and structure to help them control their money so they don’t get into financial trouble. Financial services companies need to honor these values and respond with programs and products that help people do better banking,” comments Susan Menke.
Learn more about these trends on Mintel Comperemedia’s blog: www.comperemedia.com/blog/ 

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