Smartphones have increasingly infiltrated every aspect of modern life, to the point where young adults in particular consider them an item they can’t live without.
Indeed, new research by global asset management firm Legg Mason has revealed that the so-called millennial generation – adults aged between 18 and 35, are almost twice as likely to use mobile phones as their older counterparts.
More than nine in ten millennials use their handsets to get online, while just 52 per cent of baby boomers do the same.
Perhaps not surprisingly, this has fundamentally affected how different age groups expect to interact with various service providers.
For instance, nearly half of millennials in the UK would like to use their smartphones to do their financial planning.
According to Legg Mason, this is a higher proportion than in any other European country. Furthermore, only 13 per cent of British baby boomers shared the same view, indicating a clear gap in attitudes between the age groups.
Financial services providers will therefore find themselves under growing pressure to cater to both markets, offering face-to-face services in branches and high-quality, mobile-optimised services for the smartphone generation.
Justin Ede, head of distribution for Europe and the Americas at Legg Mason, said: “Services that have traditionally always been delivered face-to-face are now becoming automated, and the use of smartphones for financial planning is another step in that direction.
“Indeed, these statistics reveal the extent to which the demand for fully digital solutions is growing among the younger generation and it will be interesting to see how financial services businesses respond to the challenges this presents.”
Crucially, however, the figures showed that young adults aren’t completely calling for the human element to be taken away.
In fact, fewer than one in five respondents in the UK were in favour of adopting a tech-only financial planning solution, or an option that is led by technology and slightly backed up by human interaction.
So while digital services are sought after and popular, especially among younger adults, relatively few are calling for technology to lead the way.
An element of human interaction is always desirable, particularly if a person is engaged in complex transactions or when they need to have lengthy discussions with a bank or financial advisor.
There are some roles that technology simply can’t fulfil – not yet, anyway.
But when it comes to straightforward tasks such as transferring money to another person or setting up a standing order, it seems as if people are very happy to turn to technology.
Smartphones are fully-fledged computers in our pockets, so it makes perfect sense for them to be used in such ways.
By letting us manage our finances on the move, the whole process can be quick, painless and convenient.
And let’s face it, these aren’t attributes we typically associate with dealing with the bank!