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Which are the online centers of interest of the banking websites visitors?

Which are the online centers of interest of the banking websites visitors?

72 percent of US online consumers made at least one purchase on the web during the last quarter of 2000.


As new banking websites appear on the market (ebanking, Zebank, e.creditlyonnais, banqueagf.fr, bipop.fr, etc…), the whole French banking landscape is being modified. This is a big change as the sector had adopted a wait-and-see attitude in front of the Internet revolution up till now.

Of course, in most cases, nothing but these actors' name is new, as they are either promoted by a well-known traditional bank, such as the Credit Lyonnais, or backed by a long-established financial group (this is how the Fortis group finance ebanking, for instance).

These actors often chose very different market strategies, as some opted for a very aggressive customer acquisition campaign, offering its clients accounts with an interest rate of 5% (zebank, bipop), when others preferred to offer high standard services, just as ebanking did.


Another big difference can be seen between these new actors, and this is the part dedicated to its offline positioning, either via a network of classical bank agencies or else via partners that have already managed to set up their own well-established network.

This is how the Credit Lyonnais is convinced that e.creditlyonnais.fr will manage to remain a real agency. Its positioning does prove peculiar, but it still proves similar to a traditional agency in the way it deals with its customers.

On the contrary, Zebank managers preferred to break free from traditional banking, thus trying to convince users that it is now possible to use bank services in another way, using the same logic as a supermarket, with a simple and easy-to-use offer that makes it possible to compare prices on a permanent basis.

The next few months will tell us which of the two strategies best manages to meet customers' needs.

In the meantime, each of these banks need to try and customize the first three or four millions of mature Internet users who are presently asking for online bank services that would answer their real needs.

Basing ourselves on the exclusive figures provided by BVA TFC Research, the subsidiary that was created jointly between the BVA institute and eMarket Strategies, and that presently owns the first behavioural panel on the French market with 17.000 active users who access the Internet both from work and from home, eMarket publishes here in exclusivity an analysis concerning the centres of interest of the users who presently access banking sites.

As far as their global surf is concerned, these users appear to be mostly interested in portals, lottery and community sites, which does not come as a surprise as this happens to be a classic trio.

Basing ourselves on the first 15 sectors that hold an interest for these users, we notice that portal sites concentrate 14.52% of the visits, which happens to be a rather high figure.

Among these sites Yahoo! gets a market share that appears higher than its "natural" market share when all Internet users are concerned as it gets 76.47% of the visits, followed by Voila which gets 15.57% of the visits.

This might be due to the fact that users who surf on Yahoo! Web site are more mature than others. And as a consequence, this mature population is more qualified to use online banking services.

Just as logically, these users regularly visit… banking sites (these sites get an average of 6.17% of the visits).

The banking sites listing mostly corresponds to the market shares which are held by the biggest French banks; the Caisse d'epargne arrives first (26.52% of all the visits on banking sites), followed by the Credit Agricole (24.92 percent of the visits on banking sites). What does come as a surprise is the fact that the BNP only arrives in fifth position with 10.86 percent of the visits on banking sites.

As for financial portal websites (Boursorama, Le Moneymag, SquareFinance, financial portal sections, etc), they also seem to hold an interest for these users.

Indeed, they concentrate 2.09 percent of the visits.

Boursorama is the first of its category with a market share of 57.94 percent (this is based on the first five sites). Let's also notice the big increase shown by LeMoneymag website, which gets a market share of 35.71 percent and appears to be a real threat for Boursorama.

But these figures still need to be qualified if we also take into account the time spent on these same websites.

Indeed, when we take into account the time spent on these sites, still basing ourselves on the same 15 sectors of activity, financial portals represent 7.10 percent of the time that is spent online by Internet users who visit banking websites, and this figure appears much higher than the previous 2.09 percent we got for real visits.

According to this same time criterion, Boursorama crushes its competitors with a market share that reaches 90.55% (when Lemoneymag only gets 6.88%). In my opinion, what these figures mean is that Boursorama successfully managed to customize the users who visit its website.

On the contrary, Yahoo's French financial section strains to take off among these users who visit banking sites, with a market share that does not exceed 2.38%.

In order to look at the prospect of these figures, I thought it might prove interesting to compare the percentage of these visits with those of the users who visited the Amazon.fr French website in March 2001.

We notice that these two populations of users have rather different centres of interest: banking sites only represent 1.13% of the visits that are paid by Amazon users, figure that should be compared to the 6.17% of users who visited banking sites. The difference is not quite as big as far as financial portal websites are concerned, as Amazon users represent 1.33% of the visits compared to 2.09% of banking users.

In my opinion, this proves that financial portals managed to become part of most users' habits today.

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    72 percent of US online consumers made at least one purchase on the web during the last quarter of 2000.  

This figure is taken from the last study that was conducted by Greenfield Online, which surveyed a sample of 3.899 US respondents and covers the fourth quarter of 2000.

According to this study, 72 percent of online consumers would have made at least one purchase within a 90-day period in the fourth quarter of 2000. This figure should be compared to the results of the fourth quarter of 1999 (69 percent) or even to the fourth quarter of 1998 (65 percent).

This does not only mean that the conversion rate of lookers-to-bookers keeps on being high but also that it gets bigger every year. This consumer behaviour now seems firmly rooted.

Another interesting element is the fact that 64 percent of online consumers who made a purchase within this 90-day period say they have paid attention to ad banners while surfing.

What's more, 28 percent of online consumers confess they clicked on those Internet ad banners.

All these figures indicate that eCommerce has become a real retail medium and also that online advertising remains an important element, even if it this does not always show in the global clickthrough rates.

The rest of the study concerns the top purchased products online.

Books arrive first for 19 percent of the respondents, then come CDs (16%), clothing (16%), toys (12%) (be careful, the period studied includes Christmas)…, and finally computer software (10%).

Strangely enough, airline tickets only arrive in sixth position in the study and yet, another study by Harris/Nielsen (see article in eTourism newsletter), claimed that eTravel would account for a third of all eCommerce transactions for the month of January 2001…

Source : Greenfield online

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