Welcome to the second of three weekly reports from MFour’s Millennial Insights Project.
This study is driven by a different idea in market research: if you want to reach Millennials, a generation that remains elusive to researchers even though it continues to be studied to the hilt, you have to talk to them where they live – on their smartphones. This project is the first wide-ranging, demographically representative study of Millennials undertaken solely by smartphone app, the communications/information interface with which they are most comfortable and fully engaged.
Using MFourDIY™ — the first all-mobile, do-it-yourself survey platform –we obtained 1,000 validated responses within two hours from Millennials on the million-member active panel that uses the Surveys on the Go® smartphone app. The 30-question survey covered Entertainment, Money & Finance and Technology & Lifestyles, giving a representative picture of the U.S. Millennial population by sex, age, race/ethnicity, income and employment status.
This is Part 2, Money & Finance. You can read Part 1, Entertainment, by clicking the link at the end of this post. Part 3 on Technology & Lifestyles is coming Tuesday, Oct. 4.
Here are some of the insights the survey delivered on how Millennials manage their money.
- Banking on the Go: 61.2% of Millennials say they most prefer to do their banking with mobile apps, and 69.1% said they’d done just that during the previous week. 82.7% had used a mobile banking app during the past month. Mobile was the most preferred banking method across all racial and ethnic demarcations, age groupings and income brackets. The groups most likely to make mobile banking their first choice were Hispanics (71.1%) and Millennials with incomes of $75,000 or more (65.5%).
- Still going to the bank, but not gladly: Only 18.1% of Millennials said they prefer to do their banking in person. But nearly two-thirds (63.9%) said they’d been to the bank during the past month. Will this generation continue to patronize institutions that don’t satisfy a strong consumer preference?
- Not keen on personal computers: Only 12.5% of respondents cited desktop or laptop computers as their preferred interface for banking.
- But they still use them: 71.6% of Millennials said they had used a personal computer for banking during the past month – although the number fell to 66.7% for the youngest age bracket, 18-24. The younger Millennials also were less likely to use a PC to make a payment – 51.1% in the past month, compared to 61.2% of all Millennials.
- Checks face checkmate: Only 17% of respondents had written a check during the previous week. 26.6% said it had been six months or more since they’d written a check, and 24% said they never had used a check. 87% of Millennials have a checking account — more than any other banking product — so maybe it’s time for marketers to find a new name to reflect an increasingly check-free landscape.
- Apps top cash: Mobile apps such as PayPal and Venmo edged cash (34.5% to 32%) as the way Millennials most prefer for transferring money to family and friends. Do not write a gift check to a Millennial if you can help it: only 10% said they prefer checks for transactions with family and friends.
- Hackers? No worries: Asked how confident they are in the security of banking/finance apps, only 9.7% of Millennials stated any concern. 62.9% were confident or very confident, and 27.4% neutral. Those who said they were very confident outnumbered those who had no confidence in app security by almost 8 to 1 (26.9% to 3.6%).
Interestingly, a recent Harvard University survey of Millennials ages 18 to 29 found that only 11% expressed trust in “Wall Street” – that is, banking and finance as a whole. In our survey, 28% of Millennials ages 18-29 said they were “very confident” in banking/finance apps. Is this an indicator that Millennials’ attitudes can change when they interface with institutions on their generation’s own, technology-loving terms?
- Asian Americans well positioned: Asian American Millennials report that they’ve adopted many of the behaviors financial advisors strongly advocate. For example, 60% pay off their entire credit balance each month – nearly double the average of 31.1% for all Millennials.
Using MFourDIY, the market research industry’s first all-mobile, do-it-yourself platform for designing and carrying out studies, MFour fielded a 30-question survey on Sept. 10 to Millennials who make up about 60% of its million-member active panel, all of whom participate in research via the Surveys on the Go® app for smartphones and tablets. Fielding time was less than two hours for 1,000 validated responses.
Responses reflected U.S. Millennials’ demographic profile: 50% male, 50% female; 56% Caucasian, 19% Hispanic/Latino, 14% African American/Black, 5% Asian, 1% each for Middle Eastern, Pacific Islanders and Native Americans/Alaskans; 3% Other. Age brackets were 18-24 (36%), 25-29 (31%) and 30-36 (33%). The study also segmented respondents by whether they were parents of children under 18, their type of work (full-time blue collar and white collar, part-time, unemployed), and their income (six brackets from $25,000 or less to $100,000 or more).