Consumers worldwide want same technology experience

by Darinia Khongwir    Jun 20, 2013

Mobile devices

Country by country, consumers want it all, and they want it in the palm of their hand. According to a global study released today by First Data, consumers worldwide expect strikingly similar mobile and technology-powered experiences from large and small businesses as well as financial institutions – and their expectations are fuelled by skyrocketing smartphone usage.

The study was conducted to understand consumer awareness, usage, attitudes and behaviours in traditional in-person and web-based shopping, payments, banking and money management. The survey was conducted online in 10 markets including Brazil, China, Germany, India, Mexico, West Asia, Poland, Singapore, United Kingdom, and the U.S. with nearly 4,000 consumers who had a bank account and either a debit or credit card.

The study revealed that consumers seek three consistent, defining features in their experience including seamlessness and control, tailored and personalized experiences, and a direct connection to other consumers and information through social media and shared online content.

Much of this change in expectations is driven by the proliferation of smartphones, which have fundamentally altered how consumers around the world go about their daily lives. Understanding the impact this has on consumer behaviour has profound implications for doing business today.
-Larry Drury, Chief Marketing Officer, First Data

Seamlessness and Control

The ability to connect related activities and move among multiple channels, both online and off and from device to device, can result in an experience that is both simpler and more intuitive when compared to previous payments and financial services experiences. Globally, consumers are interested in the ways that technology can eliminate complexity and merge a fragmented series of transactions into a seamless whole.

Globally, more than half of the respondents said they wanted a seamless experience. Consumers in Brazil, China, India and West Asia were most interested in the concept of seamlessness.

About 71 percent expect real-time access to their financial accounts (rating this 8, 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale), allowing them to make decisions wherever they happen to be. In the U.S., 76 percent indicated interest in real-time access, representing one of the highest levels of expectations among the countries in the study. Nearly half of consumers would stop using a technology immediately if it was not intuitive, easy and straightforward.

Tailored, Personalized Experiences

Because consumers know there is a vast amount of personal data available, they expect the businesses they interact with to know them. According to the study, consumers demand a tailored experience that uses the information businesses have about them to their benefit. Nearly half globally want businesses to get better at targeting ads and offers to them. Fifty-eight percent expect their bank to do a better job of considering their individual circumstances.

Social and Sharing

Technology has changed how communication between businesses and consumers functions: a shift from top-down to peer-to-peer, and even bottom-up. Because of social media and user-generated online content, consumers’ span of influence has greatly increased in recent years. Half of the global consumers surveyed post reviews online. Those numbers climb to 74 percent in India and 60 percent in Germany. More than one half consult social media before making a purchase. Eighty percent of Chinese and Indian consumers surveyed did so, the highest among all markets surveyed. Just about one half say they prefer working with companies that are smart about using social media and technology.