KBC Bank, Ireland’s digital first bank, has launched a new survey which seeks to put a spotlight on the digitisation of Ireland, revealing how people in Ireland are using digital services and technology as COVID-19 accelerates digital adoption.
Findings from the first KBC Digital Indicator Survey show that Irish consumers have high levels of confidence when it comes to using digital technology, given the acceleration of digitally enabled products and services stimulated by COVID-19. The majority of respondents (85%) are confident in using digitally enabled products and services, with younger cohorts and those in urban areas more likely to describe themselves as ‘very confident’. Confidence with digital technology levels were lower in those aged 66 and over, and in those of a lower social grade, with 19% and 31% describing themselves as ‘very confident’ respectively.
Additionally, 29% of respondents would place themselves ahead of the curve when it comes to trying new digitally enabled products and services, compared to just 6% of those aged 66 or over.
The research findings come as Irish consumers continue to adapt to the changes brought about as a result of the pandemic. Consumers are now using digital technology and digitally enabled services more in their day-to-day lives, with streaming services (54%), fitness tracking (45%) and managing daily finances (44%) proving most popular. Nearly one third (31%) of respondents are now also using digital platforms to open new accounts. At KBC, over 77% of new current accounts were opened digitally or over the phone in 2020.
Interestingly, more than a quarter of those surveyed (29%) are using digital dating services less than before the pandemic. Unsurprisingly, almost a third of respondents (32%) admitted to using technologies more to manage and track their mental health.
Commenting, Fergal O’Riagain, Director of Daily Banking Products at KBC Bank said, “We understand that the pandemic has accelerated the rapid migration to digital technologies, however, the results of our first KBC Digital Indicator Survey show that consumers are increasingly more comfortable with using technology and digitally enabled services in all aspects of their daily lives. At KBC, we are committed to keeping up with the pace of change by making our products and services more accessible to customers across Ireland.”
As consumers embrace new technologies, 74% of respondents have used cash less since March 2020, with 48% reporting a significant decrease in their cash usage. Over half of those surveyed (55%) believe digital payment methods will replace cash payments within the next ten years, while 44% believe this will happen by 2025. According to KBC Ireland’s own data, spending on KBC digital wallets has increased 21% year-on-year in 2020.
Looking forward, nearly half of those surveyed (47%) feel they will use mostly digital payment methods and only ‘some’ cash, while nearly one quarter (23%) feel they will use an equal mix of both. Young millennials (21%) are most likely to believe they will use only digital payment methods into the future, followed by those aged 66 years or over. Higher social grades are also more likely than lower social grades to feel they will use digital only.
In addition to embracing digital technologies, Irish consumers are also more aware of online security threats with 95% of respondents claiming that they are more vigilant when it comes to online scams or text and email phishing attempts. Overall, 51% of respondents would describe themselves as much more vigilant.
Fergal O’Riagain, Director of Daily Banking Products at KBC Bank continued: “We’ve already seen notable increases in eCommerce spending, with online grocery spend amongst KBC customers increasing 116% year-on-year in 2020 and online home improvement centre spend up 228% year-on-year for example. As consumers continue to use digital solutions in their daily lives, we will continue get them ‘digital ready’, which includes our soon to launch first to market range of wearable contactless payment devices. By offering new, secure ways to pay, Irish consumers now have more choice and greater flexibility when it comes to making purchases, both in-store or online.”