Wednesday, 01 February 2017 23:49

Many Aussies revealed as ‘financial avoiders’: Forrester

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Australian online consumers show little interest in their finances and don’t engage much with financial institutions, or seek out financial advice, despite the wider availability of digital money management tools, according to a newly published study from Forrester Research.

Forrester says that over the past two decades, digital technologies have empowered consumers in all areas of their lives “yet the way most people get financial advice hasn’t changed” even though the financial landscape gets more complex every year, with new legislation, new offerings, new technologies, and new companies to navigate.

Forrester dubs Australian online adults who show little interest in their finances as “financial avoiders” and says they could benefit from “well-designed digital money management tools that deliver what they really need” – personalised financial guidance, help, and advice to make better financial decisions.

“However, money management tools are notably absent from Australian banks’ offerings compared with those of their overseas peers,” Forrester says.

A snapshot of Forrester’s Australian market findings:

•    Avoiders neglect their personal finances. More than two in five Australian online adults are so- called Avoiders: They tend to neglect their finances, don’t do much of their own research, and don’t get in contact with advisers to help them, either Australian banks and insurers need to do a lot of outreach and education to engage with these consumers. Digital tools are the best way to engage with Avoiders, as they show little interest in working with advisers — only 10% are willing to pay for advice.

•    Australian consumers predominantly use PCs for financial research and buying. Most consumers favour the PC when researching and purchasing/applying for financial products. Only Validators, the group that combines personal research with advice from professionals, lead the way in the use of smartphones for researching and purchasing financial products, particularly the latter. Nearly one in five Australian Validators has researched and purchased financial products on a smartphone in the past three months. They are also the group that agrees most with the statement “I trust financial services companies to treat me fairly and honestly.”

Forrester’s global survey included 9800 respondents in Australia and consumers in China, India, Japan and South Korea, between the ages of 18 and 84.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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