Mobile Preferences in Financial Services

It’s a simple fact that the Android mobile operating system is the most popular in the world, by a long shot. So why is it that when I look around at a financial services conference, everyone seems to be using an iPhone or iPad?

Global data from IDC* shows that Apple accounted for only 14% of smartphone shipments and 28% of tablet shipments in 2014. The key to understanding the mobile landscape is to apply it to your own demographics, however. My firm operates in the financial services space, serving a range of users from individual investors to financial professionals. Taking a narrow look at the financial advisor space, the important trends to focus on should relate to mobile adoption among advisors and their clients. Cheap feature phones, emerging markets, kids, and students drive Android’s market-share dominance globally. These populations aren’t the target market of the financial advisor.

Data from Morningstar** shows that 66% of individual investors in the U.S. are more likely to surf the web using Apple smartphones and tablets. Financial Planning magazine’s 2014 Tech Survey highlighted that 78% of advisors prefer the Apple iPad for business use.  Apple offers premium products at high price points; investors and advisors are more likely to afford these premium prices than the average phone buyer. Android may dominate the global market, but advisors and their clients prefer Apple devices.

Everybody is touched by mobile technology, and our personal preferences tend to be as polarized as politics. Android market-share dominance, iPhone quarterly shipments, and patent lawsuits fill the headlines. When developing an app strategy for your market, avoid the noise and zero in on the demographics and trends relevant to you.

Mike Barad is the Head of Product Components & Services for Morningstar. He leads an interdisciplinary product development organization that provides shared services, components, and mobile application development across Morningstar’s software products.

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