High-Tech Users among the Downscale MacroMonitor Marketing Report Vol. III, No. 4 October 1997

Financial institutions target mostly affluent consumers in marketing their electronic- or online-based financial products and services. Given that high income correlates to heavy use of financial products and services, this approach is on target. Nevertheless, targeting lower-income households as potential users of online financial services and other remote delivery options presents marketing opportunities as well.

Among lower-income households, financial providers are likely to find a significant submarket of young, working households capable of using and willing to use electronic financial services. Using familiarity with a personal computer (PC) as a potential indicator of willingness to use electronic or online financial services, MacroMonitor analysts segmented the low- and low-middle-income population into PC users and nonusers. Findings from this analysis follow.
  • Familiarity with technology and the willingness to use it more closely correlate with age and education rather than income.
  • A significant proportion of lower income households—48% of low-middle-income and 37% of low-income—are familiar with computers. Those that use a PC at home spend just as much time (or even more time) as do their higher-income counterparts at their home PCs.
  • Lower-income PC users use ATMs and telephone account systems extensively.
  • The number of annual ATM transactions among lower income PC users is even higher than the average for total U.S. households.
  • The financial needs of lower-income PC users lean heavily toward transactions and credit.
  • Some 45% of both low- and low-middle-income PC users say that they would be willing to use home banking if it were available—a higher incidence than that for total U.S. households (37%).

Personal Computer Use by Income Segment