ARLINGTON, Va., July 10, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Americans aged 18-29 (closely corresponding with the Millennial generation) are the most pessimistic about their financial situations compared to any age group measured by CEB, (NYSE: CEB) the leading member-based advisory company. In its Consumer Financial Monitor Millennial feelings about their personal finances dropped nine percent in the last six months confirming a trend of unhappiness that began in 2012. This has negatively impacted Millennials' trust in banks and their buying behaviors, suggesting that providers need to rethink their service approach or risk an entire generation of disengaged customers.
The implications for financial institutions could be severe. Millennial distress is evident in their weakening savings behaviors and rising reliance on savings and borrowing to make ends meet. CEB data also shows a decline in activities such as financial planning, using advisors and purchasing financial products. Indeed, it is entirely conceivable that younger consumers may defer or even decline to purchase products such as mortgages, auto loans or investments central to the lives of previous generations.
CEB Managing Director Peter Aykens said, "Millennials want their banks to provide the same kind of customer experience that they receive through more agile consumer technology companies they rely on in other parts of their life," continued Aykens. "They are looking to manage their personal financial lives in the same way they manage their digital and social lives. Right now, with some exceptions, non-banks are building superior offers."
Additional CEB data outlines the extent of the "Millennial Problem" for financial services providers:
- In 2012, younger consumers were the most satisfied with products, while this year's report shows them to be the least satisfied, and by a significant margin.
- The "confidence gap" in financial institutions between Millennials and their historically more pessimistic elders has slowly and steadily eroded, with Gen X and Millennials now equally negative in their feelings about financial institutions.
- Negative feelings have translated into disengagement. Millennials are less likely to work with a financial advisor, keep a formal budget or plan for long-term goals than they were in 2012.
Financial institutions should focus on service as a route to reengagement with their younger customers. Further CEB research in the financial services space recommends a multichannel strategy designed to deliver a low-effort customer experience. Best-in-class mobile and web solutions, as well as simplified, transparent products can all support this aim.
The bi-annual Consumer Financial Monitor survey draws from the results of 17,500 consumers across 24 key global markets with results available in the first and third quarters of the year. The US survey measures and compares sentiment by three key age demographics: 18-29, 30-46 and 47-65 and divides by wealth along the mass affluent (more than $100,000 in investable assets) and mass market consumer (less than $100,000).
CEB, the leading member-based advisory company, equips more than 10,000 organizations around the globe with insights, tools, and actionable solutions to transform enterprise performance. By combining advanced research and analytics with best practices from member companies, CEB helps leaders realize outsized returns by more effectively managing talent, information, customers, and risk. Member companies include nearly 90% of the Fortune 500, more than 75% of the Dow Jones Asian Titans, and 85% of the FTSE 100. More at cebglobal.com.