Time spent in finance apps during 2020 leapt by 45% worldwide
It’s clear 2020 was a transformative year for the finance industry and this was reflected through financial apps. According to App Annie, the leading mobile data and analytics company, the time spent in finance apps during 2020 leapt by 45% worldwide outside of China year over year.
Whether it’s a boom in the download of trading apps, or more time heavily spent in traditional finance apps, App Annie shares the latest trends below.
Disruptive investment and trading apps dominate the (US) market
The popularity of the mobile app has speeded up the ‘unbundling’ of the financial ecosystem. There used to be one destination – a bank – for everything: savings, loans, mortgages, investments etc. Now, there are specialists each offering competitive rates and a more friendly user experience.
Of all these sub-sectors, investment and trading apps performed especially well in 2020. Time spent in these products grew by 55% worldwide. In the US, the rate was up 135%.
- In total, five of the US’s top six finance apps in terms of time spent were investment and trading apps. They were Robinhood, TD Ameritrade, Yahoo Finance, Webull Stocks and Fidelity Investments.
- Robinhood had an extraordinary year. It reported 4.3 million daily average revenue trades in June.
- Demand for investment apps carried over in 2021, driven by digital traction among trading enthusiasts on Reddit. On Jan 26, 2021 Robinhood ranked #1 among Finance apps.
- The State Of Mobile 2021 also revealed a sharp rise in crypto-investing apps. In a year of mass state borrowing, many consumers saw cryptocurrency as an attractive store of value to fiat money. This helps to explain the rise of apps such as Binance (#1 investment app by time spent in Argentina in 2020 on Android phones, #3 in Russia) and Bitso (#1 in Mexico).
Which countries were the fastest growing for mobile finance in 2020?
- All regions showed significant uplift in mobile finance activity, however, LATAM was the standout performer among the 16 countries analyzed in the State of Mobile 2021 report.
- Argentina and Brazil are especially ripe for finance innovation. Each is home to many millions of unbanked consumers, who must make purchases in cash, or pay for expensive pre-loaded debit cards or money orders.
- These consumers want solutions that cost less and are easy to use. The pandemic merely speeded up the adoption of these products. For example, Argentina’s top app by growth in time spent year over year was Mercado Pago. This is a payment product that was originally designed for the Mercado Libre e-commerce auction site, but expanded to be a generic payment instrument. In Q3 2020, Mercado Pago processed 559.7 million transactions, up 146.6% year-over-year.
- Brazil’s top app, Caixa Tem, illustrated another facet of the COVID era. The state-owned bank Caixa Econômica Federal used the app to distribute emergency funds to citizens. It says 105 million users opened accounts for this purpose.
Bank on it: A holistic view of finance apps during 2020
- The ability to pay by mobile in physical locations has been growing steadily for years. In 2020 it jumped again thanks to an unexpected factor: not convenience, but safety. The pandemic made many fearful of cash. As a result consumers switched to contactless or QR code payments. Retailers too. A Visa study found 39% of SMES now accept new digital forms of payments – and 74% expect consumers to continue with contactless payments even after a vaccine. Particularly for markets like the US that were slow to adopt contactless payments, this is a major shift in the industry.
- In the UK, the breakout finance apps in 2020 for time spent were Trading 212 Forex & Stocks Follow at #1 at a 925% YoY growth. Then followed by NatWest, Lloyds Bank Mobile, HSBC UK Banking, PayPal, Hargreaves Lansdown, Nationwide Mobile Banking, TSB New Mobile Banking, RBS and Coinbase.
“As we enter 2021, more financial decisions are being made from our mobile devices than ever before. Time spent in finance apps grew 45% year over year globally outside of China in 2020 as consumers trust mobile apps for their financial needs — including retail banking, investment and trading apps, loans, retirement funds, government payment apps, fintech apps, and more. Stock market participation soared in 2020 amidst financial headwinds and market concerns from COVID-19, and consumers turned to apps, with time spent in top investment apps up 55% worldwide and 135% in the US.” – Lexi Sydow, Senior Market Insights Manager, App Annie
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