Asia Pacific Financial Consumers’ Digital Coming Of Age Is Here

Something remarkable is happening with Asia online adults: Their behaviors and expectations are evolving at an unprecedented rate, and they’re embracing innovation faster than ever before. Forrester found that consumers in Asia markets are some of the most advanced when it comes to engagement.

Their high levels of empowerment affect how they choose to interact with their financial providers, preferring digital channels over physical ones, especially in mobile-first markets like mainland China, India, Thailand, and Indonesia. Seventy-seven percent of banking customers in Asia Pacific prefer digital channels, ranging from 69% in Indonesia to 79% in Thailand. For life insurance customers, the situation is more heterogeneous across Asia Pacific markets, with digital channels being preferred in markets such as mainland China, Thailand, India, and Australia. In Singapore and Malaysia, agents are still the preferred way for customers to interact with their life insurance provider. That’s not to say that financial firms should ignore non-digital touchpoints. 73% of customers across Asia Pacific believe they should be able to accomplish any financial task on a mobile device.

As consumers across Asia Pacific become more empowered, something else is also happening at the same time — the rising tide of digital disruptors. These are players that aim to create differentiation by using digital technologies and making clever use of data to offer simple, personalized, and engaging digital banking experiences. As regulators in markets like Australia, , and Singapore release digital banking licenses and other markets follow in their footsteps, the regional retail banking environment is on the cusp of major new digital banking breakthroughs. Forrester found that many customers trust firms and technology giants over traditional financial services providers to help them better manage their finances.

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The skepticism that non-traditional digital players won’t make a big impact in the financial services sector is fast disappearing.

There’s a wide range when it comes to consumers’ openness to switching to digital-only providers in the next 24 months, with 14% of Australian consumers compared to 59% of consumers based in metro India. Forrester found that many customers trust payment firms and technology giants over traditional financial services providers to help them better manage their finances. Global technology giants, digital-only banks and insurers, payment providers, eCommerce players, and even ride-sharing leaders are already threatening established firms by offering simple, convenient, and more personalized digital experiences.

The pace of industry change is about to accelerate, and the stakes are rising. As a leader at a financial institution, you must understand how consumer behavior and financial attitudes are evolving, how your customers want to interact with financial services providers, and what matters to them when it comes to financial goals. Why? Because this will have a profound impact on your go-to-market strategy, distribution channel strategy, and your firm’s unique value proposition.

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