Banking Digital Divide Linked to Age, Other Factors

Survey: Younger consumers gravitate more toward online and mobile but 65 percent of boomers use online banking

The latest consumer study conducted by Market Rates Insight shows a link between consumers’ age group and their choice of banking method. The study found that only 24 percent of Gen Y consumers, identified as those between the ages of 18 and 35, indicated a branch as their preferred banking method. Similarly, Gen X consumers, who are between 36 and 46 years old, follow the pattern with 25 percent using a branch for their banking services. Conversely, 38 percent of consumers age 67 or over, and 31 percent of baby boomers, who are between the ages of 47 and 66, use branches as their primary banking method, generating a variance of nearly 14 percent between Gen Y and the oldest group.

On the other hand, all age groups use online banking to a great extent. The majority of Gen Y, 69 percent, and Gen X, 68 percent, use online banking as their preferred banking method, as do 61 percent of the mature age group and 65 percent of baby boomers use online banking.

When it comes to mobile banking, which is still a relatively new banking channel, the picture is very similar. The youngest group of consumers, Gen Y, has embraced mobile banking as their preferred banking channel to the tune of 6 percent, followed by Gen X at 4 percent and baby boomers at 2 percent. None of the mature age participants in the study indicated a preference for mobile banking.

The MRI study, which will be released in June, also found variances in banking-channel preference among the income range of consumers, the size of the financial institution, such as national, regional or local, as well as between consumers of banks vs. credit unions. For example, mid-size regional institutions have the highest branch preference and the lowest online use among consumers, whereas credit unions have a lower branch use and higher online preference than banks.

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