US Consumer trends

Five critical trends that we’ve identified for US retail banking marketers to think about this year.

1. Don’t just transform—humanize

Covid-19 has put customer centricity even more front and center for banks in their digital transformation efforts. As the effects of the ongoing pandemic are likely to last well into the second half of 2021, and as branches have closed, the ability to humanize digital channels becomes even more critical to the customer experience at consumer banks and credit unions.

With 75% of US banking or credit union consumers preferring human or a combination of human and technology, creating a great overall customer experience will require investment in both1.

From BigTech partnering with big finance to simplify and enrich the customer experience (The Citi Plex Account with Google Pay)2 to bank apps that allow customers to integrate accounts from other banks3, we expect customer centricity and digital humanization to continue to drive transformation through 2021.

What this means for marketers:

Review your firm’s digital customer journey and experience in the context of the current pandemic landscape for 2021. Consider how you can leverage technology and create experiences that recreate or at least supplement the experience of working with humans.


2. Frictionless is king

Expect the demand for frictionless to continue as government guidance and consumers alike have eschewed cash in favor of mobile and contactless card payment methods that make instore purchases easier, faster – and/or less likely to be a Covid risk. Contactless payment methods have now become the primary way consumers prefer to pay4.

What this means for marketers:

Keep in mind the payment experience and these preferences when developing content to engage cardholders – especially given we have a few more months before the Covid-19 vaccine is widely available to general populations in each state.


3. Get creative with card rewards

As credit card issuers have adapted to the drop off in travel from the pandemic, they added new rewards categories (such as grocery rewards) or branded bonus partnerships with the likes of delivery services, such as Uber Eats or DoorDash, to keep travel-rewards-minded cardholders engaged5. With the pandemic continuing to wreak havoc across the globe, enticements such as rewards are expected to continue.

What this means for marketers:

Keep close to your loyal cardholders with continued new ways of engaging and rewarding them. But also carefully consider content that will keep warm the embers of their love affair with travel once vaccines make travel a reality once again. And keep in mind payment experience and preferences when developing content to engage cardholders.


4. Opening the door

According to Accenture, more than 30% of small businesses use open banking, and that trend is expected to continue, adding 10% more organic growth over the next 3-5 years6. This open API-driven model, which allows several providers to connect on the back end with a seamless interface, could change the face of small business banking as digital transformation progresses. In fact, open banking is expected to have 40 million users by next year7.

What this means for marketers:

Keep in mind the multiple-provider model of open banking when considering how to approach the small business market.

Matt Garrison

Matt Garrison

Matt has 25 years of experience in marketing roles for asset managers, wealth managers and investment banks, as well as agency roles helping financial brands connect with their clients. Matt brings substantial knowledge of the industry as well as investment and retirement products across institutional and retail audiences. As a Senior Content Strategist based in New York, Matt develops content strategy, assets and activation strategies for a wide range of financial brands.