The coronavirus pandemic has driven a 72 per cent rise in the use of financial apps in Europe in just a week, reveals a new report.
While most sectors are feeling the pinch of what is fast becoming a worldwide recession, social distancing and self-isolation measures mean the fintech world is thriving.
According to Swiss financial services company deVere Group, which carried out the study, the massive bounce in financial app use is part of a fundamental adaptation to life in lockdown.
“The world has changed in the last few weeks,” explains James Green, deVere Group’s Divisional Manager of Europe. “The measures we’re now all taking to help the fight back against coronavirus are affecting the way we interact, live, work, and take care of our finances.”
The sharp rise in the use of fintech apps is part of a wider growth in the use of digital technology as people find new ways of working, staying in touch with family and friends, and entertaining themselves during the coronavirus crisis.
Streaming service Netflix has seen record viewing numbers since lockdowns began several weeks ago, as millions turn to binge-watching to cope with days spent at home. Digital conferencing company Zoom – among other digital tech firms – has enjoyed a boost to its share price, with millions of workers having to connect with their colleagues remotely.
A new era has already begun, with digitalisation and new technologies driving the shift.
Meanwhile, Vodafone has reported a 50 per cent increase in internet usage as its customers switch to working and entertaining themselves from home.
Mr Green said: “A new era has already begun, with digitalisation and new technologies driving the shift. This can be seen by demand soaring for video-calling platforms such as Google Hangouts, Skype, FaceTime and Zoom amongst others, as more people from ever work remotely.
“Zoom Video Communications has been a remarkable performer in recent times, with its shares gaining more 32 per cent since the market began its decline in mid-February. This new era has also been evidenced this week with a staggering 72 per cent jump in the use of our fintech [financial technology] apps from existing clients and a sharp increase in enquiries from potential ones.”
He adds: “Since the 2008-2009 financial crash, fintech has been filling the void left between what traditional financial services companies are offering and what clients are now expecting, especially in terms of customer experience.
“In broad terms, this means immediate, on-the-go, 24/7 access to, use and management of their money. It means personalised, on-demand services. It means lower costs. It can be expected that due to the Coronavirus pandemic and the steps being taken to combat it, this move towards fintech will be significantly accelerated.
“Fintech is fast-becoming the new normal.”