Less than one in five Australians are ‘technology early adopters’

Banks are struggling to keep ahead of fintech disrupters, with only 18.7 per cent of Australians likely to purchase and use new technologies, says Roy Morgan.

Less than a quarter of Australians can be classified as ‘technology early adopters’, leaving banks struggling to digitise in the face of digital disruption and retain their customers’ interest, Roy Morgan research shows.

The research found that the amount of Australians classed as early adopters critically impacts the success of traditional banks in the digital environment. Early adopters will be the first to use new technologies and set a general trend for the broader marketer to follow, making it vital for banks to track these customers.

The survey of over 50,000 people showed there were major differences in the proportion of each bank’s customers that fall under the heading of a ‘technology early adopter’, which is greatly affecting overall banking performance.

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The Teachers Mutual Bank led the pack, with 29.2 per cent of customer classed as early adopters, followed by ING Direct and Citibank.

While Teachers Mutual Bank recorded statistics 56 per cent higher than the population average, there were several below average performers including Heritage Bank with only 23 per cent, and BankSA at only 12 per cent.

Among the big four banks, the strongest performer was Westpac (eight per cent above average), followed by ANZ and Commonwealth Bank at seven per cent above the average.

National Australia Bank (NAB) recorded the lowest levels of technology adopters at 15 per cent — around three per cent below average.

Roy Morgan industry communications director, Norman Morris, said that the findings do not represent future outcomes.

“Although the smaller banks currently appear to be leading in attracting customers from the Technology Early Adopter segment, they are likely to face challenges from the better resourced big four and the new fintech disrupters who are likely to be more nimble and experienced at adapting quickly to customer needs, thus posing a potential problem for all banks,” he said.

“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…this new era in banking.”