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Mobile Fintech: Growth, Impact and Predicted Trends

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By Alexandre Pham, Vice President, EMEA at Adjust

 

2021 saw another transformative year for the fast-moving world of app marketing, as the accelerated shift towards mobile continued. Nowhere was this more apparent than in the mobile fintech sector; Adjust’s recent Mobile App Trends report found that last year, more users than ever before flocked to apps for their financial needs.

In the report, we explored the recent performance of fintech apps, revealing that banking app revenue reached $6.8 billion last year; an incredible 88% increase on 2020. What’s more, over half of purchases (52%) were made with a digital wallet in 2021, and use of cash declined 42% compared to 2019.

Our data revealed a 19% increase in finance app downloads compared to 2020. As the mobile fintech industry continues to grow, there are huge opportunities in the fintech space for mobile app developers and advertisers alike.

Consistent and accelerated install growth

Adjust’s report finds that installs of fintech apps grew by 35% between 2020 and 2021. Looking at the breakdown of these installations per sub-vertical. Payment apps make up approximately 57% of the installs share, followed by banking at 34%, stock trading at 7%, and crypto at 2%.

A rise in post-pandemic interest in investing apps continued in 2021, while interest in cryptocurrencies led crypto apps to overtake stock trading apps to become the majority of asset management app downloads. Bitcoin and overall crypto market capitalization reached new all-time highs in April and November. As expected, we found that coverage of “meme coins” such as Dogecoin and Shiba Inu and the popularity of NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain led to a surge of new users into the fintech space.

With more users than ever before turning to fintech apps, we know that marketers and developers are looking to expand their channel mixes to capture the largest number of potential new customers. We found that this was reflected in our trends data, as the number of partners each fintech app is working with has also increased alongside the competition. What’s more, the average number of partners for the vertical as a whole grew from 3-4 in 2021. Crypto saw the greatest increase — starting 2020 with an average of 2.5 partners per app and finishing 2021 with an average of 4.5.

Boosting sessions and understanding user behaviour

With an increase of 53% globally, the growth of fintech app sessions recorded is even more significant. Our findings highlight a boost in engagement within the vertical, as existing and newly acquired users record more sessions than ever before. While global sessions follow a continued upward trend throughout the year, the highest point can be seen in April, which was 92% higher than the 2020 average, and 27% up on the rest of 2021.

The breakdown of sessions across the fintech subvertical differs significantly from what we saw for installs. Banking takes first place at 46%, followed by payment at 31%. Stock trading and crypto take more of the sessions share than the installs share, at 17% and 6%, respectively. This suggests that the users who download apps in these categories are clocking more sessions than those using banking and payment apps.

According to Adjust’s report, in-app revenue for fintech apps is also increasing steadily, showing consistent growth from January 2020 through to December 2021. While subscriptions, third parties (sellers and beneficiaries), and advertising are the key ways that fintechs monetise, we recognise that subscription models have become increasingly prominent. This helps to drive the increase in in-app revenue, as many fintechs have progressed from the growth stage into the profitability stage.

Prioritising user privacy

It’s been more than a year since the rollout of iOS 14.5 and Apple’s AppTracking Transparency (ATT) framework. This marked a critical shift in focus towards protecting consumer privacy. Although early predictions for industry-wide ATT opt-in rates were as low as 5%, our recent data shows a much higher rate of 25% — a number that is increasing consistently.

While the opt-in rate for fintech apps sits below the industry-wide average, at 11%, these changes to data privacy have reinforced the need for marketers in fintech to extract value from their own first party data. Given this, we can expect to see continued acceleration in ATT opt-in rates for the fintech vertical, as more users understand the value of opting-in and receiving personalised advertisements.

Therefore, app marketers in the fintech realm should implement robust opt-in strategies that communicate the benefits of targeted advertising to users. It’s this exact proposition, which has already been communicated for years, that’s led to hyper casual games consent rates reaching as high as 40%.

What’s next for mobile fintech?

In 2021, we saw the shift toward mobile accelerate, with more users than ever before turning to apps for their financial needs. With installs and sessions in the vertical increasing across all regions and subverticals, it is clear that the global fintech app ecosystem is thriving, and continued growth can be expected from this space for the remainder of the year. As for upcoming trends within the sector, we expect to see growth in Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) services, digital wallets enabling access to cryptocurrencies, as well as cloud baking from traditional banks.

The recent changes to data privacy have had a significant impact for mobile app marketers in the fintech space, so focusing on getting the opt-in is crucial. Although numbers are comparatively low, pushing this rate up by even a couple of percentage points will prove invaluable when it comes to building out conversion value models and predictive strategies for the aggregated SKAdNetwork data set.

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Addressing the ongoing global pilot shortage issue

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By Bhanu Choudhrie, Founder of Alpha Aviation

 

The Covid-19 pandemic brought the aviation industry to a halt, causing vast market disruption and putting the future of many key players at risk. Now, just as airlines were getting back on track, staffing shortages are causing new complications – and part of this issue is a growing pilot recruitment problem.

So, where does the sector go from here and what steps need to be taken to mitigate pilot shortages?

The root of the issue

Even before the pandemic, there was a global shortage of pilots, with people flying more due to a rise in more affordable airlines and falling fuel costs. In fact, the 2020-2029 CAE Pilot Demand Outlook suggested that the global civil aviation industry will require more than 260,000 pilots by the end of the decade.

However, when demand for air travel dropped across the globe, airlines were quick to offer early retirement packages to reduce immediate outgoings. Whilst this approach helped some airlines stay afloat during the slowdown, a wave of early retirements has left them on the back foot.

Bhanu Choudhrie

Now demand is coming back much faster than expected. In the US alone, the Bureau of Labor Statistics is expecting 14,500 openings for commercial and airline pilots each year until 2030, and this imbalance is already having a detrimental impact on the aviation industry. With flights being cancelled, travellers left stranded, and some airports losing service altogether, it is crucial that the larger aviation ecosystem comes together to work out a solution to effectively address this pilot shortage crisis, so that it can once again meet capacity demands.

Re-directing efforts to rebuild pilot pools

With vast swathes of pilots put on furlough during the pandemic – and therefore unable to maintain their license requirements, the damage isn’t just in the ongoing pilot shortage, but also in the decades of experience the industry has lost. In response to this narrative, last month a Senator in the US introduced legislation to raise the mandatory retirement age of commercial airline pilots from 65 to 67 – and the US are not alone in this shift. Last week, Air India announced that it will be raising their retirement age for pilots from 58 to 65. Now we need to see other countries and airlines follow suit to help retain the talent that can help guide and mentor the next generation of cadets.

Moreover, training schools and airlines will need to work together to challenge industry stereotypes and empower more women to pursue a career in the cockpit. Currently, just 5.1 per cent of the world’s commercial pilots are women. This means that for every twenty flights taken, only one of them will be piloted by a woman. Unfortunately, this gender imbalance has become a long-established trend within the aviation industry and, stereotypically, pursuing a career as a pilot has been considered a male occupation, with women type cast to cabin crew instead. Therefore, if we are to make proactive strides towards addressing the current pilot shortfall, finding a way to shift that percentage is essential.

The cost of training to be a pilot is also a key barrier the industry needs to address, and at pace. On average, the cost to train as an air transport pilot can exceed $100,000 – making a career in the cockpit unattainable to many. One way for the industry to help narrow the gap and mitigate what is often seen as a considerable financial risk, is to make bursaries more accessible. There are already a number of programmes in place, to support both aspiring pilots and those who need to maintain their licenses, however, now the industry needs to work on championing and expanding these support systems.

The industry also needs to start to embrace alternative approaches to alleviate this substantial outlay. For example, at Alpha Aviation, we have started running the the Multi-Crew Pilot License (MPL). This is a shorter, more simulator-focused way of training that not only opens up opportunities for prospective cadets from less privileged backgrounds, but also offers a more flexible training programme and quicker route to qualification – reducing the financial expenses for cadets to cover.

Technological innovations can also play a crucial role in advancing the training process to help support a consistent employee base. For example, e-learning programmes can enable airlines to expand cadet class sizes. No longer restricted by the physical capacity of training centres, e-learning programmes have the potential to significantly open up access to becoming an aviator and will ensure airlines can recruit the best talent, irrespective of locality. In addition to this, pilots still need to clock up over 1,500 flying hours to receive their ATP certificate. Therefore, investing in simulator training facilities is now pivotal in supporting cadets to keep on top of the legal requirements and improve their skills set at a significantly quicker pace, alongside supporting existing pilots to retrain on new aircrafts when necessary.

Looking ahead

The pressure on the aviation industry shows no signs of abating any time soon. Therefore, while it is great to see passenger numbers returning to near pre-pandemic levels, the industry needs to take this as a significant wakeup call and re-assess its pilot recruitment process.

At the end of the day, there is no quick fix – training top of their class pilots takes time, investment and enthusiasm. However, addressing the ongoing chaos and driving the sector out of this turbulent period is essential to the economic revival of the nation. Therefore, decisive action is needed – and it is needed now.

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How exporters can mitigate risks and operate smoothly in stormy, post-Brexit waters

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By Morgan Terigi is Co-Founder and CEO of Incomlend

 

The past few years have presented a series of hurdles for companies whose operations rely heavily on international trade.

Brexit brought with it a storm of bureaucratic complexities that upended long-standing trade routes and routines, impacting not only those in the United Kingdom and Europe but also businesses across the globe. This on its own would be enough to cause logistical headaches for even the most senior of operators, but the emergence of the COVID-19 crisis, the subsequent worldwide lockdowns, and now the Russian invasion of Ukraine has created an environment where running a business smoothly becomes an altogether more difficult task.

According to information from Eurostat, between January 2020 and December 2021, EU imports coming from the United Kingdom fell by 16.4 percent and at the same time, EU exports to the United Kingdom decreased by 2.1 percent. Taking a sector such as the fishing industry, which exports much of its goods to the EU (113 thousand metric tons in 2019), trade has been impacted by both additional costs and delays due to red tape which can be a nightmare.

Analysis by the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations the bulk of the UK fishing fleet is set to lose £64 million or more per year, with a total loss in excess of £300 million by 2026, due to Brexit. This is just an example of one of the many industries which have suffered post-Brexit, and for many, it has only gotten worse.

Morgan Terigi

The spread of COVID-19 quickly added another monumental hurdle to international trade. According to statistics on UK-EU trade from the House of Commons Library, the first lockdowns in the UK and EU, which occurred in March 2020 saw the value of UK exports to the EU drop by 17 percent from the first quarter to the 2nd quarter of 2020. Imports from the EU to the UK fell by 26 percent over this same period and there was an 18 percent drop in UK exports between Q4 2020 and Q1 2021 and imports from the EU fell by 25 percent over the same period.

Moving past COVID-19, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent economic sanctions on trade and imports of goods from Russia would stand as the next major hurdle to the UK, the EU and the wider world.

According to an analysis of the impact of economic sanctions of UK trade in goods with Russia, the imports of goods from Russia dropped to £33 million in June 2022 – the lowest level since records began. There have also been no imports of fuels from Russia in June 2022, another first, while exports to Russia dropped by £168 million (66.9percent ) compared with the monthly average for the 12 months to February 2022.

The combination of Brexit, COVID-19 and the war has caused significant logistic supply-chain related issues not just for companies in the UK and Europe, but across the entire world.

So what can exporters do in order to minimise risks to their business operations?

It is important for exporters to diversify in order to survive. While imports from the EU to the UK took a massive hit due to Brexit, imports from other non-EU countries increased by 30.1 percent. At the same time, EU exports to other non-EU countries increased by 6.1 percent.

When the flow of raw materials from one country or region becomes problematic or non-cost-effective, it is in a business’s best interest to source these raw materials elsewhere. Having this variety of sources means the production of products or services can continue despite whatever problems may arise.

This allows a business to operate more efficiently and securely. However, once a business starts venturing into new supply lines, a certain element of risk comes into play.

Long-standing relationships provide a comfortable routine and while diversifying these routes can provide a security blanket, new issues with new suppliers may arise.

To survive in such uncertain times, exporters must explore new markets, and SMEs must be nimble in regards to where they get their products, all of which increase risks for those trading.

These new risks can be costly to SMEs, particularly those whose cash flow may not be enough to survive a major hurdle or hiccup. And with SMEs making up around 90 percent of businesses and over 50 percent of employment worldwide, their role in the economy can not be overstated.

This is where invoice financing firms step in. They are able to provide funding to these companies in order to cover the trade-finance gap from which they are currently suffering.

These businesses can provide SMEs extend credit lines in a more flexible manner than banks and traditional lenders can achieve.

This means an SME which is under pressure can rely on this credit to cover overheads such as paying wages and suppliers, allowing them to keep operating smoothly, even if unexpected problems arise.

An example of this would be a factory in one region, which provides car parts for a company in another region. On the first of the month, this firm ships out the completed order of car parts for an agreed fee of €150,000. However, the payment for this may not come in for a number of weeks – leaving the factory owner in a tough situation until that payment comes in. The invoice trading firm steps in there, as a middleman. He pays the factory owner, meaning said owner can pay his workers wages, and pay for the next load of raw materials. Once the money comes through from the buyer, the invoice trading firm then receives their money back, plus interest and the whole supply chain continues to operate smoothly.

As the geopolitical climate continues to shift and change, new challenges and hurdles are sure to arise. Fintech, in particular, invoice financing firms will play a decisive role in the future of trade. The flexible nature in which they can provide financing see that wages are paid, materials are sourced, shelves are stocked and businesses stay open.

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