After over a decade of unstoppable growth, fintech shows no signs of slowing down. Marketing firm Singular has recently conducted an in-depth study into consumer appetite for fintech mobile apps, and the results provide an intriguing insight into user preferences.
Perhaps one of the most surprising results is that crypto trading apps are now outperforming apps from leading banks – including Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Chase. Crypto.com is at the front of the pack, ranking top of the trading category and coming in at #5 overall on Android fintech apps and #7 in iOS. The list is ranked by the number of user downloads and covers the three months leading up to mid-June.
Even in the digitally forward crypto space, Crypto.com stands out for its mobile-first strategy. Many crypto exchanges optimize for trading on desktop, with their mobile apps generally offering a “lite” experience for traders. In contrast, Crypto.com has always been an app-first platform, offering its entire suite of services, including cryptocurrency-integrated prepaid Visa cards, token swaps, and staking, via its mobile platform.
It’s a move that now appears to be paying off, as the firm is overtaking its competitors on mobile downloads. According to data from Apptopia covering the most downloaded cryptocurrency apps in 2020, Crypto.com was second, with Coinbase taking the first slot. However, the more recent analysis from Singular now implies that the former has overtaken the latter.
Meme Stocks, Mobile Trading and Peer Payments
Even if some firms are outperforming others, it’s fair to say that there have been no losers in the crypto business so far in 2021. Cryptocurrencies have played a central role in the broader trading frenzy of 2021, which kicked off at the start of the year with the meme stocks craze. In January, Robinhood took the drastic step of halting trading after Reddit traders pumped the price of GameStop stocks in a social media-fueled buying spree. Without the ability to trade stocks, the masses turned to crypto and started pumping Bitcoin and Dogecoin.
Bearing in mind the demographics in question, it’s hardly surprising that mobile trading apps are proving so popular. The meme stocks craze was driven by traders exchanging tips on Reddit – a young, digitally-savvy crowd likely to be communicating mobile at least part of the time. Furthermore, the cryptocurrency markets are in operation 24/7 and are known for sudden, lurching moves that can quickly change a winning trade into a brutal loss. With a mobile app, traders can exit a suddenly risky position in the same amount of time it would take a desktop machine to wake up.
But the demand for mobile financial services doesn’t stop with trading. The Singular report shows that the top most-downloaded apps are those taking a mobile-centric approach to user experience, with peer-to-peer payments and digital wallet use cases increasing in prominence.
PayPal and Venmo both rank in the top five. Apple’s Apple Pay is also worthy of mention. Although it’s not an app, because it’s embedded into iOS, Apple Pay had accrued over 500 million users by the end of last year.
Fintech is Eating Finance
The shift highlights how fintech is now well and truly eating traditional finance, and legacy banks are struggling to keep pace. Apple, PayPal, Crypto.com – none of these firms are banks, and yet they’re proving better able to engage users than a traditional bank.
After all, mobile now penetrates almost every facet of our everyday lives. While most of us still rely on traditional banks to a greater or lesser extent, it remains to be seen how long this will be the case. As fintech continues to grow, mobile-first firms offer greater accessibility and connectivity.
Consumer demand for better, faster, cheaper, and always-on access to financial services also offers exciting potential for the cryptocurrency and blockchain segment. Last year, Apptopia reported that cryptocurrency apps were seeing an 81% year-on-year increase, compared to just 12% the previous year. The measurement period, which stretched for two years leading up to July 2020, predates the epic bull run in cryptocurrency that started in September 2020.
Given the dates and state of the markets, the growth could indicate that people are increasingly turning to cryptocurrencies as an alternative to traditional finance. However, it’s also fair to note that the big players in cryptocurrency have been on aggressive expansion and marketing programs. For instance, Crypto.com recently signed a global sponsorship deal with Formula 1, which will see the firm’s branding assets visible trackside during every F1 race for the rest of this season.
Another example is Coinbase, which is offering incentives of up to $1,000 to newly recruited engineers in India in an effort to establish a new hub in the country.
A Positive Growth Cycle
Overall, forward-thinking crypto and fintech firms are reaching out to meet consumer demand for mobile financial services. However, the segment is also subject to a significant inflow of investment, providing firms with the financial means to take risks on new products and features. If the current trend continues, then the boundaries between finance and fintech will continue to blur until, from a consumer perspective, they are one and the same thing.