Study reveals significant mobile financial services market potential in Europe

A study into attitudes to mobile financial services suggests that Europeans could be a lucrative target market for telcos in the next 12 months.

Research company Ovum studied 8,500 consumers in 17 countries across mature and emerging markets from Asia, the Americas, Africa and Europe. The study, on behalf of Amdocs, included an investigation of users and non-users of mobile financial services in UK, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland. It found that though half of all Europeans have never used mobile financial services, 15 per cent of them are ready to adopt advanced products in the coming year. This could create a massive market opportunity that mobile telcos and over the top content providers could compete for, according to Ovum principal analyst Eden Zoller.

Rewards will only be a powerful tool for driving mobile financial services (MFS) if handled correctly, warned the analyst. Unless carefully matched to consumer desires the MFS will be an ineffective blunt instrument, according to Zoller. However, telcos could be well placed to offer the right rewards. “European MFS users are most drawn to rewards in the shape of free airtime for calls and texts, followed by vouchers for products, services and entertainment,” said Zoller.

The most marketable financial products were identified as loans, savings, insurance, m-coupons, omni-channels payments and solutions for education and medical treatment payment.

However, a lack of market awareness and misperceptions about MFSs could hamper efforts to sell these services. Almost 50 per cent of the total European respondents don’t know about or don’t care for MFSs, said the report.

The Ovum report identified three main improvements that mobile telcos could make in order to sell more MFS in Europe. These are greater data security (which was identified as a concern by 45 per cent of the survey), service ubiquity (which 44 per cent found off-putting) and rewards (the administration of which concerned 37 per cent of the survey). The adoption of low transaction charges would please 32 per cent of potential MFS buyers, while 30 per cent said ‘ease of use’ was a deciding factor.

The UK market proved to be an anomaly in the study, with a disproportionately high enthusiasm for rewards.

“Driving the next phase of adoption and growth is the biggest challenge for mobile financial services providers in mature markets like Europe,” said Patrick McGrory, Amdocs division president for emerging offerings. “The market needs compelling value propositions and advanced solutions to address this challenge.”

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