Age is not just a number, it is one of the most defining variables in British investors’ decision making. Understanding what drives consumers to make choices about investment services and products is critical for firms when developing distribution and marketing strategies.
Our research shows that, while 54% of 16-34-year olds have savings, only 12% have investments (workplace pensions aside) – far below other age groups.
Financial products have historically proven to be pretty sticky, with very low rates of switching. This means that firms that are successful in onboarding consumers while they are young, can hope to profit in the future. However, this is far from easy.
Young people are far less familiar with most of the established brands in our sector. For example, while Hargreaves Lansdown has a strong recognition across the population as a whole, this shrivels among younger people. Newer brands, like Nutmeg, are building their brand recognition levels much faster with young people.
Banks are also well placed – often they are the only financial services relationship young people have ever had. Banks have higher brand awareness levels than pure investment brands although buying directly from product providers also resonates. Vanguard is currently doing particularly well in this segment.
There is an opportunity for investing companies to be successful with younger people, but it requires patience. Customer acquisition costs remain high and, with smaller portfolios, will take more time to recoup. However, investment brands have little choice in this matter – they must replace older clients as they spend or pass on their wealth and the behaviour of the next generation might be fundamentally different to the previous one.