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Issue 2001-11 Friday, Septembre 21, 2001








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  Traditional banks versus "virtual" banks - The Latest figures  

Will banks that put all their hopes on the Internet distribution channel win their bet?

It seems that, in the United-States, success is far from certain yet, at least if we trust the number of visits that are paid on said banking sites.

According to MMXI, not only does traffic to traditional banking web sites keep on increasing (+110,5% in a year), but also traffic to online-only banks remained nearly the same as it was a year ago and even decreased (it fell 8.1%).

Such a poor result in absolute figures should be compared to the evolution rate of the American online banking sector that grew 77.6% over a year…

The chart shown below well illustrates the huge decrease registered on online-only banks as its market share went down from 11.47% to 5.93% over a one-year period:


In France, banks that chose the Internet as being their main, or even only, channel of distribution have managed, at least for the time being, to impose themselves much more strongly than those in the United-States, in comparison with traditional banking.

These new banks (that include Zebank.com, Banquedirecte.fr…) managed to represent nearly 20% of the whole Internet traffic in terms of the number of visitors in both May and June 2001 (figures provided by BVA TFC Research, which take into account people who access the Internet both from home and from work).

And yet, as this table clearly indicates, their influence found itself greatly reduced in July 2001, as they lost nearly 7% of the whole Internet traffic that was registered on banking sites.

Nevertheless, this drop in the traffic did not prove uniform within the new banking sector, as it mainly concerned two web sites, while the others managed to retain their previous traffic.

But these figures should be taken with caution, as they vary according to the size of the promotion campaigns that might have been used by these same online-only banks in the last few months.

Whatever might be said, these figures concerning French online-only banks prove, just as American online-only banks also indicate, that as soon as they cut down their advertising efforts, their traffic decreases in a sensible way, which would tend to indicate that the loyalty rate shown by their Internet users is still a long way off that which can be recognised by traditional banking.

And this is precisely where the future of online-only banks stands: they need to attract customers who are already held by traditional banks.

eBrands, the establishment of trust, deficiency due to a missing offline network … these are the challenges that need to be successfully taken up in the light of an opponent which does not have the same financial resources as you do and has been on the market for dozens of years…

Sources : CyberAtlas - BVA TFC Research

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