HK consumers prefer digital channels to interact with financial services providers

Consumers in Hong Kong prefer to engage with their retail banking and life insurance providers on digital channels over physical ones; while tech giants such as Apple, Google and Samsung are becoming the companies that consumers in Hong Kong trust to act in their best financial interests, according to new data released by Forrester.

Forrester has released a guide on consumer preferences for financial services. The report found that consumers in Asia Pacific markets are some of the most advanced when it comes to digital engagement with financial services, with 77% of banking customers in Asia Pacific preferring digital channels, and 73% of consumers believing they should be able to accomplish any financial task on a mobile device.

In Hong Kong, 78% of respondents prefer interacting with their retail banks on digital channels, while only 39% of life insurance consumers prefer digital channels. This is in line with what Forrester found in other Asia Pacific countries, including India, China, Thailand and Singapore.

While banks lead in consumers’ trust to act in the best interests of their financial wellbeing, Forrester found that many customers trust payment firms and technology firms over traditional financial services providers to help them better manage their finances.

Global technology giants, payment providers, eCommerce players, and even ride-sharing leaders, are already threatening established firms by offering simple, convenient and more personalised digital experiences.

Tech giants such as Apple, Google and Samsung are among the companies that consumers in Hong Kong trust to act in their best financial interests. In Mainland China, Alibaba and WeChat are slightly behind banks.

However, in view of the issuance of virtual banking licences in Hong Kong, it is interesting to note that only a minority of consumers will consider switching to digital-only financial services providers in the next two years – retail bank – 18%, and life insurer – 18%. These figures for Hong Kong are among the lowest in the region.

In Asia Pacific, consumers in India, Thailand and Indonesia are most willing to consider switching to digital-only providers.

“Consumers are more likely to engage with firms that prioritise helping them improve their financial wellbeing,” said Dane Anderson, VP, research director and region manager at Forrester.

“We expect that customers will dynamically deconstruct their personal financial services ecosystems and reassemble them with newer and better players. Traditional institutions have several advantages, but will be left behind if they do not transform faster to meet the challenge.”

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