Financial services have traditionally operated on the premise that past long-term consumer behaviour is a key indicator of future financial performance.<p>This past year has been a game changer for society in general, the impact of the pandemic has affected consumers finances and continues to cause complex instability.</p>
With financial services having to rethink how they predict customer behaviour under Covid-19, here are five triggers from the past year that have changed financial attitudes and created an environment of ever-changing unpredictable behaviour.
1 Two sides of contrasting situations
Unfortunately, consumers in exposed sectors such as hospitality, retail and travel have been made redundant or put on furlough. Under financial stress and worried about their future, they’re having to cut their spending in order to make ends meet.
On the other side of circumstances, many have had no change in their income. Even those who have kept their jobs are spending less, anxious about their job security and financial future. Many are building cash reserves to cover for redundancies or increasing retirement savings.
2 We can’t predict customer behaviour
The pandemic has taught us that consumers are likely to pivot between these two contrasting patterns of circumstances without notice.
Whilst it is impossible to predict if these changes will last once lockdowns end and the pandemic dissipates, FinTech services will have to react, identify the financially vulnerable, provide guidance & empathy. Consumers will build trust based on the response to their ever-changing situation, as many begin to find their feet post Covid-19, they will expect extended support and flexibility from their banks.
3 Money thinking is more long term
To improve our understanding of how consumers make financial decisions, it’s important to investigate what psychological characteristics influence individual financial behaviour.
There are limited certainties right now, but one thing is for sure: Consumers have more time to think. Analysing and questioning previous spending habits that once seemed logical, many have changed the way they think about their future earnings. Increasing their self-control, shifting their money thinking to long term savings and security.
4 Working from home
The professional life of workers with a stable income has changed, they’re spending a lot less. Whilst daily commutes differ depending on location and distance, they tend to follow a similar spending pattern. Some commuters are saving on rail season tickets, whilst also avoiding other temptations: a daily morning coffee, grab a bite for lunch, after works drinks on a Friday.
Whilst we can safely assume that employers will trust employees to work from home more regularly, it isn’t possible to predict if and when workforces are going to flood back to urban centres seeking out their offices again as opposed to spare rooms.
5 Locked down impulses
Most parts of the society have been under some sort of restrictions for the best part a year. How can consumers maintain spending impulses when Covid-19 restrictions have taken away the ability to spend even if they’d like to when shops, bars, restaurants and entertainment venues are closed?
Will consumers liberate a new dawn of spending once we emerge from lockdown? Will theatres, bars, restaurants, sports events and hotels be fully booked with consumers together again and embracing a lust for life?
Data learning comes to the fore
There is a challenge for financial services to react to these triggers in real time, data machine learning models will need to be harnessed to effectively analyse patterns and understand a customer’s situation.
This data insight will be used to better understand a customer’s individual situation and support them in finding resources, gaining confidence and taking control of their finances.
To summarise, the pandemic means that financial services won’t be able to rely solely on previous consumer behaviour; data and technology will come to the fore to provide personalised and responsible banking to support individual customer centric needs.