November 12, 2013

Digital Banking Could Put 35 Percent of Traditional Banks’ Market Share Up for Grabs by 2020 in North America, According to Accenture Research

Survey Shows 50 Percent Increase in Mobile Banking Activity in the US; Double- and Triple-Digit Growth in Online Sales of Key Banking Products

NEW YORK; Nov. 12, 2013 – Thirty-five percent of banks’ market share in North America could be up for grabs by 2020, as traditional branch banking gives way to digital banking and as new competition emerges, according to new research published by Accenture (NYSE: ACN) today.

Accenture’s market-analysis indicates that by 2020 an estimated 15 percent of traditional banks’ revenues could shift to online-only players, including branchless banks and new technology entrants. Another 20 percent could shift to retail-driven players with a mass-market focus -- under partnerships between big-box retailers and banks, and potentially independent ventures by retailers.

“Digital technology and rapid changes in customer preferences are threatening full-service banks that do business primarily through branches,” said Wayne Busch, managing director of Accenture’s North America banking practice. “Given the scale of these disruptions, traditional full-service banks, as a group, could lose significant market share by 2020 -- to banks that reorient around digital technologies and to new entrants from the retail and technology sectors. Our research shows signs of this already occurring.”

Based on customer survey-data, the research cites a 50 percent increase in mobile banking activity over the past year; double- and triple-digit growth in online sales of traditional banking products (amidst declines in branch sales); and a strong trend of customers looking outside their primary banks for new products. It also points to new branch formats to help banks manage the trends with higher efficiencies and retention.

Double- and Triple Digit Growth in Online Product Sales
According to the survey, online sales of key banking products showed double-digit growth year-over-year, while sales of the same products via branches declined. Sales of mortgages via the Internet increased 75 percent, while sales at branches fell 16 percent. Online sales of auto loans nearly doubled, while branch-sales dropped nearly 10 percent. Online sales also increased in checking, savings, personal and home equity loans and money market funds.

“The Internet has long underperformed as a sales-channel for banking products, leaving branches as the dominant sales engine,” added Busch. “As that calculus changes, market share will be increasingly up for grabs -- particularly given consumers’ strong tendency to look outside their primary bank for new products.”

While US consumers tend to stay with their primary banks (only 9 percent had switched within a year), they are heavily inclined to shop around for new products. One-third (34 percent) of traditional retail banking products sold last year were from institutions other than customers’ primary banks, according to the survey.

50 Percent Increase in Mobile Banking
“There is little question that branches remain important in the minds of US consumers today,” said Mike Goodson, a managing director and head of management consulting for Accenture’s North America banking practice. “They are cited as the number one reason for loyalty, and eight out of ten consumers see themselves using branches as often or more often in five years’ time. But this is changing quickly, as profitability pressures motivate banks to promote less costly and more convenient ways of banking to customers. The rapid rise of mobile banking illustrates how quickly customer behaviors can change through digital technologies.”

Recent promotions of services like mobile check-deposit by major US banks are driving rapid mass market adoption. Use of mobile banking has increased 50 percent since last year; and nearly one-third of US consumers (32 percent) now do mobile banking at least once a month, according to the survey.

Over the past year, mobile banking nearly displaced ATMs as the most important area customers believe their banks should be investing in and developing (mobile banking 20 percent vs. ATMs 21 percent). Meanwhile, online banking was cited as the number one area in which banks should be investing (cited by 43 percent), overshadowing branches (38 percent).

New Branch Formats
According to the research, the top 25 US banks spend more than $50 billion per year to maintain branch networks, where approximately 60 percent of all products are sold. It proposes a lighter, more diverse branch banking model to maintain sales, while better enabling digital banking:

“The acceleration in consumer acceptance of digital banking this year – particularly in the areas of mobile banking and online product sales – foreshadows a very different banking landscape for 2020,” added Goodson. “Branches remain vital to banks, but they need to be reimagined as one aspect of a radically new approach to consumers. This is not just an opportunity for banks to recover profitability and reduce costs. It is an opportunity to establish a much more sustainable relationship with customers and better retention of market share into the future.”

About the Survey
Accenture conducted a quantitative survey of 2,001 retail banking customers from across the United States. Conducted in May 2013, the online survey has a statistical margin of error of 2.2 percent. Year-over-year comparisons are based on the results of the same survey of the same number of respondents conducted by Accenture in June 2012.

About Accenture
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with approximately 275,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of US$28.6 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2013. Its home page is

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Sean Conway
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