Millennial and Gen Z consumers turn from banks to brands for financial products

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The landscape of consumer banking is shifting dramatically, especially among the younger European demographic. 

An independent survey conducted by Vodeno/Aion Bank, involving 3,007 European consumers, unveils a trend that could redefine the future of financial services. This article delves into the findings of this survey, highlighting the growing preference of Gen Z and millennial consumers for financial products directly from brands they use everyday over traditional banking institutions. 

With a focus on convenience, tailored solutions, and innovative financial benefits like Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) schemes, this study sheds light on the evolving expectations and loyalties of younger consumers in the banking sector.

Key Takeaways

  • Rising preference for brand-based banking.
  • Brand loyalty is tied to financial incentives and benefits.
  • Tailored financial products are the focus for the next generation.
  • Embedded banking products lead to more customers using apps and websites. 
  • Economic factors push a significant number of consumers towards brands that offer flexible payment options like BNPL.

Gen Z and Millennials Lead the Banking Shift

The independent survey has found:  

  • 52% of 25-34-year-olds said using financial products via their favourite brands was more convenient than using a conventional bank
  • 51% said brands offer products more tailored to their needs than traditional institutions
  • 50% will only stay loyal to brands offering financial benefits and incentives like Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) and cashback

New research from Vodeno/Aion Bank has revealed that Gen Z and millennial consumers are turning to brands for their banking needs, with the availability of BNPL and embedded banking products significantly boosting brand loyalty.

Why Brands are Winning the War of Convenience

Additionally, the survey highlighted that 52% of 25-34-year-olds believe using financial products from their favourite brands is more convenient than banking with a traditional retail bank. 

The same number (52%) feel brands offer financial products better tailored to their specific needs when compared to traditional institutions. Meanwhile, 51% of respondents in the 25-34 demographic said they believe brands are making banking more accessible.

Vodeno/Aion Bank’s study showed that a quarter (25%) of those aged 25-34 said convenience is the main reason for banking with their favourite brands, rising to 45% amongst those 35-44. Over a third (35%) in the 25-34 group said they had used an embedded banking product because the brand offered them a good rate. 

In the current economic climate, 37% of all European consumers said they are more likely to seek out brands offering BNPL and flexible payment options due to the high cost of living, with this figure highest among those 25-34 (54%) and 16-24 (44%), respectively.

Financial Incentives and Brand Loyalty

A further 50% in the 25-34 group said they will only stay loyal to brands offering financial benefits and incentives like Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) and cashback. The youngest consumers surveyed were also mostly likely to use a brand’s loyalty card to make purchases if it included BNPL, with 65% of those 25-34 and 53% in the 16-24 group. 

When asked how often they shop with their favourite brands, 19% of respondents said ‘monthly’ and a further 16% said ‘once every two or three weeks’. However, among those who have used a brand’s embedded banking product, 36% said they return to that brand’s app or website between three and five times a month, with this figure rising to 43% among the 25-34 age group. 

Strategic Implications for Traditional Banking Institutions

Kim Van Esbroeck, Chief Revenue Officer at Vodeno, said: “Millennials and Gen Z are charting a new financial course, and increasingly relying on embedded finance products from their favoured brands for their banking needs. Our survey paints a clear picture as to why: convenience, tailored solutions and accessibility are the cornerstones driving this transformation.

For brands, the case for embedded finance is clear. Not only can they offer their customers  greater choice with different banking products, but in doing so they create a better customer experience with new revenue streams.”

Final Thoughts

The key takeaway from the survey is a pivotal one: the  choice of when and how to use financial products are evolving amongst Gen Z and millennial consumers, and they trust their favourite brands to use these services. 

These younger demographics are increasingly drawn to financial products offered by their favorite brands, valuing convenience, personalization, and innovative benefits like BNPL. For banks and financial institutions, this shift presents a clear call to action: to remain relevant and competitive, they must integrate more flexible, tailored, and technologically advanced solutions into their services. 

The future of banking lies in adapting to and embracing the preferences of a new, digitally-savvy generation of consumers.

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