February 2014 Trends & Highlights – Millennials, Wearable Tech and Social Promotions

by on Mar 05, 2014

Generation YTRENDING

  • Outsized Influx of New Tools – Our coverage firms added 20 new tools and calculators in February, a significant increase from the two added in January. Merrill Lynch alone added 16 to its public and private sites, and Fidelity and Invesco both added major asset management tools for financial advisors. In addition, Key Bank’s new account selector tool and Bank of America’s debt payoff calculator are reminiscent of the nearly identical tools previously launched by PNC Bank and Barclaycard, respectively.
  • Social Campaigns Abound – February saw the launch of six social campaigns in our coverage group, a major break from the typical pace of one or two per month. P&C Monitor’s research accounts for half of those, with firms such as Esurance and USAA awarding prize money to lucky Twitter followers and retirement dreamers, respectively. Elsewhere, Allianz donated money to charity for each tweet and U.S. Bank started a $5,000 Facebook sweepstakes.
  • A Quiet Month for Mobile Apps – Our Monitor Services tracked four new mobile app launches in January, but saw none in February. However, two pre-existing apps were launched for new platforms: Ally Bank released its app for Windows phones, and SunTrust brought its app to Android devices.

FEBRUARY HIGHLIGHTS

Firms Research Millennials’ Financial Habits
Three firms added to the growing body of research and commentary about Millennial investors and consumers. UBS released a new Investor Watch report – Think You Know the Next Gen Investor? Think Again – that finds that younger investors (typically stereotyped as being lazy and entitled) are in fact more financially conservative than was previously assumed. These findings are largely supported by The Hartford’s recent study – Generation Y Grows Up – which examines how Millennials’ financial lives influence their self-perception as adults. USAA did not release new research, but it did publish a new Live for Today, Plan for Tomorrow page to its public site that targets the firm’s services specifically at younger investors.

The Hartford’s “Generation Y Grows Up” Study (Truncated)
The Hartford’s “Generation Y Grows Up” Study (Truncated)

This growing focus on Millennials by financial services firms has prompted Corporate Insight to conduct its own research on the topic. In June of 2013, we released The Millennial Opportunity, a whitepaper exploring how three firms in our coverage group market to and communicate with younger investors. In early Q2 of this year, Corporate Insight will also release a new syndicated piece analyzing how Millennials fit in to today’s financial landscape – so keep a lookout!

Wearable Tech Gains Momentum
Last month, Discover released a new “Glassware” app for Google Glass. A new Discover for Glass page outlines how users can activate the app on their credit card account (assuming that they are lucky enough to own a Glass headset). While Google Glass is not yet available to the general public, the launch of Discover’s app adds to a growing trend within the financial services industry. Last summer, Fidelity released a demo of its Glassware app, while Wells Fargo and now Discover are among the first firms to actually offer Glassware apps. Corporate Insight continues to monitor the wearable tech sector. For more insight, check out our blog article from early February – Wearable Tech: Past, Present and Future.

Social Marketing Takes Off in #MonitorServices
Last month, we came across six social campaigns, most of which centered around the use of specific hashtags (#) on Facebook and Twitter. As is usually the case, our P&C Monitor encountered the most campaigns. Esurance ran a Twitter sweepstakes – #EsuranceSave30 – that promised to give $1.5 million to a lucky winner who both followed the firm on Twitter and tweeted with the hashtag before 1 a.m. on February 4. Allstate updated its ongoing #FamilyGames campaign, which asks for customers’ suggestions for fun indoor activities during the winter season. USAA introduced a new Show Us #YourFutureYou contest on its Facebook page, which asked users to upload a photo of their ideal retirement lifestyle via Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag for a chance to win $5000.

USAA’s #YourFutureYou on Facebook
USAA’s #YourFutureYou on Facebook
Existing Apps Receive New Features
Although we did not observe any new mobile apps this month, many of the pre-existing apps in our coverage group were redesigned or enhanced. Citi revamped its iPhone and Android apps to feature a new user interface and a streamlined login process, as well as a new Citi Mobile Snapshot feature, which displays account balances and the user’s 15 most recent transactions without the need to enter a User ID or Password. American Express updated its iPad app to feature video chat capabilities, which is a first within our coverage group. Video chat allows users to connect with an AmEx representative, using either the tablet’s full camera or simply the microphone.

 

American Express Video Chat
American Express Video Chat
AXA Rolls Out Major Website Revamp
In accordance with the firm’s rebranding from AXA Equitable to simply AXA, the firm launched a fully redesigned public website. Featuring vastly improved navigation and a responsive, mobile-friendly design, the new site is much more image-focused and dynamic in comparison to its predecessor, which was hamstrung by a dated look and layout. The firm’s private site homepage was also updated to offer an enhanced view of their account summary along with a cleaner design in general.