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Myths, misconceptions, and truths

A glimpse at how customers really interact with banks in digital channels

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  • Written by  Bob Meara, senior analyst, Celent Banking Group
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  • Comments:   DISQUS_COMMENTS
Myths, misconceptions, and truths

Consumer preferences are changing rapidly. Some misunderstandings were once true, but are simply outdated, while others are just plain myths. Perhaps the most egregious misconception is that young people have no use for the branch. While young adults transact digitally, they prefer to engage with their banks face-to-face. This presents a challenge to banks, who must invest in both their branch and digital channels to remain competitive.

Celent conducted an online survey among 1,059 U.S. internet users in June 2013, to get a current snapshot of channel usage and preferences. Key findings of our report include:


  • Aging adults don't trust the internet. Nonsense. Celent found no statistical difference in past 30-day internet banking usage across age groups.
  • Gen Y trusts online security. Security concerns constitute the No.1 mobile banking adoption barrier across all age groups among smart phone owners.


  • Young people have no use for the branch. A related axiom is this: channel usage is all about demographics. In fact, Celent found no statistical difference among age groups in the branch as a preferred engagement choice.
  • Mobile banking users skew young, and they don't have any money. While it's true that age is a predictor of mobile banking usage, it is not just the young who are increasingly digitally driven.

Enduring truths:

  • The branch remains the king of customer engagement.
  • Consumers are increasingly digitally driven.

These have clear implications for banks. Celent identifies a triumvirate of multichannel imperatives arising from the growth in digitally directed consumers. Specifically:

  • Right-size the branch network.
  • Learn how to sell in the digital channels.
  • Catalyze growth in self-service usage.

The report, Myths, Misconceptions, and Enduring Truths: A Survey of Digitally Directed Consumers, begins with a snapshot of digital behavior based on the survey, followed by an analysis of channel usage and preference by age, device ownership, and income. The report then looks at customer satisfaction and bank-switching behavior as well as key factors leading to choosing their new bank relationship. Usage and attitudes of current and emerging digital channel capabilities follows. Finally, the report presents Celent’s multichannel mandate, a practical, three-part plan to improve sales results in an increasingly multichannel world. Find out how to obtain the report

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