Amid the pandemic, U.S. smartphone and laptop usage use is reportedly surging about 45% above normal levels. But screen time differs by generation. How does this affect banking and what does it mean for financial services in a post-pandemic world?
According to a new study by WhistleOut the average American will spend about 9 years or over 76,500 hours on their smartphones alone over the course of their lifetime. Millennials spend about 3.7 hours per day on their phones, Gen X spends about 3 hours per day; and Boomers only spend about 2.5 hours per day on their phones. Eliminate sleep time and millennials spend almost a quarter of their awake time on smartphones; Gen X spends 16.5% of their wakeful lives on a smartphone, and Boomers only spend 9.9% of their awake time on a smartphone.
Digital CX also wanted to find out how much screen time banking customers now spend trying to connect to their financial institutions. The Digital Banking Post COVID-19: Digital CX Banking Report surveyed more than 500 banking customers in June, more than 135 days after the first documented COVID-19 case in the U.S., to explore and describe the mindset and behaviors of banking customers.
We identified three groups of financial institution users: Traditionalists, Transformers and Trailblazers. All three of our groups showed increased use of screen time—digital services—during the pandemic, particularly mobile, as physical locations closed or operated under restricted conditions.
Our profiles showed:
- Traditionalists—tend to be older than other groups: 61% are 55 or older, just 15% are younger than 35. They are not seeking new experiences in banking. However, 70% use online banking and 35% use mobile banking, even though they are less likely than the other groups to use their financial institution’s mobile app.
- Transformers—Nearly half (44%) of this group are 25-44 years old. They choose their bank for convenience, which can be a mix of location and digital offerings. They already seem primed for more screen time as 65% use online banking and 56% use mobile banking.
- Trailblazers—tend to be younger than our other groups; 65% are between the ages of 25 and 44. They welcome the digital transformation of banking services. More than half of Trailblazers use online (55%) and mobile banking services (58%). They are the most mobile-forward group
Although how and when banking returns to normal remains an unanswered question it is likely that digital banking will take on a greater role than before the pandemic with all age groups.
Each of our surveyed groups indicated they want more screen time. More customers seemed willing to use mobile more than actually use it as of early June when we collected the data. This seems like a straightforward opportunity for financial institutions—to offer customers more screen time through their customers’ preferred digital channel.