Last week, the Fintech World Forum (November 22-23, 2001) took place as a virtual conference attended by around 200 Fintech delegates. We joined the forum to find out more about what’s new and trending.
Here are five trends and observations we took away:
#1. The QR Code is (well and truly) back
It seems unlikely that the Quick Response (QR code) – a 1994 invention by the Japanese car manufacturing subsidiary and designed to track vehicles, is now trending in the fintech space. But with wi-fi, faster internet speeds, and widespread use of smartphones, QR codes are living a renaissance. Banks and fintech are using QR code payments to make payments faster, with much of the uptake coming from restaurants and people eating out – particularly in the under 30’s age group. According to an Allied Market Research report, the QR code market is set to grow by more than 16% to reach US$35.07 by 2030. Statistics from the forum predicted that, in China, 83% of payments would take place using QR codes.
#2. Gen X and Gen Y use apps!
If you are under 40, you will most likely use apps for a wide range of activities, from fitness to splitting your restaurant bill. Creating useful, reliable and secure apps is key to engaging with brands and public services too, just take a look at the rise of apps during the Covid pandemic – from track and trace to food delivery. Combined with the rise of smartphones, the forum speakers predicted that app development will be a key priority in the coming year.
#3. The rise of the super-app
Apps like Alipay or Wechat dominate the Chinese market with super offerings, allowing users to access a range of services all in one place – essentially facilitating the user’s life online – from booking a restaurant to taking out a bank loan. Super-apps are ripe for market innovation currently dominated by tech markets, and growth will depend on how the regulatory landscape adapts to protect users.
#4. The potential of livestream shopping
First popular in China, which leads the world in online shopping, influencers will use their live streaming platforms to present, describe and test products for their audiences. It’s a blend of entertainment hosted by social media stars and celebrities with loyal followers – consumers who follow and trust them because they feel they can relate to them. The hosts offer products positioned as a not-to-be-missed opportunity during the live session only, and their viewers can purchase products as they watch at the click of a button. It’s changing the way brands engage with customers and could boost sales in a depressed retail market. With payments sitting invisibly in the background, it also has the potential for people to pay for virtual consultations – with a doctor for example – or send money to someone during a live chat.
#5. Open Banking: whose data is it anyway?
Regulation has given consumers in the digital economy more control over their financial data, allowing them to share with authorised fintech providers should they want to. Open banking has the potential to transform how individuals manage their money from investing to budgeting and other financial services. While some markets are still refining their regulatory framework that will enable open banking, no region can afford to be left behind in the digital economy.
Ultimately, in a global digital economy, consumers have more power and they are demanding convenience, ease and protection from fraud. But they can be fickle too, switching as quickly as they signed up for a digital service or product.
To keep customers coming back, fintech businesses need to stay laser-focused on understanding their needs and wants and making sure that they have a great user experience when they interact with the tech.
What’s next for fintech?
From a business perspective, fintech firms also need to:
learn how to differentiate their offering clearly in the market
be sure they can offer the right solution at the right time
be prepared to evolve continually
From a fintech industry perspective, it’s predicted that organically-derived product extensions will provide an increased offering to the consumer. The forum delegates heard too of the rise of two or three vast super-platforms where consumers can do everything they need, from paying bills to buying plane tickets. Ultimately, experts at the forum predicted the future consolidation of the industry as the big players move to acquire smaller ones.
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