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E*Trade: 31pc of investors seek portfolio-monitoring capabilities on wearables

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May 29, 2015

Investors are increasingly turning to wearables and smartphones for trading needs

Investors are increasingly turning to wearables and smartphones for trading needs

E*Trade Financial Corporation’s quarterly tracking study revealed that 31 percent of participants would like to use a wearable device for monitoring portfolios, displaying that although banking and financial industries have made considerable strides in mobile, wearables present an untapped market.

The study also pinpointed that 64 percent of all investors surveyed labeled the ability to invest via their smartphones while on-the-go as “critical,” while 51 percent plan to use their mobile devices for investing purposes even more in 2015, proving that the financial sector must make these options as seamless as possible. Financial service brands may feel spurred to increase their mobile and wearable offerings to fulfill the growing demand for banking, investing and trading applications.

“In the not so distant future, wearables like Apple Watch will play a major role in offering bite-sized critical information to investors,” said Kunal Vaed, senior vice president of digital transformation and active trading platforms at E*TRADE Financial, New York. “As a result, we will witness a significant migration of core digital experiences from smartphones to wearables, from tablets to smartphones, and from desktops to tablets.

“In the past, security has been a barrier to adoption, but investors are growing more comfortable with advanced security features such as biometrics, to securely manage their finances via mobile.”

Potential for wearables
The study, titled StreetWise, also opted to measure participants’ feelings about the financial sector and wearables, inspired in part by the April launch of the Apple Watch. Thirty-one percent of investors said they would appreciate having a wearable for monitoring portfolios, suggesting that financial marketers should get started on creating smartwatch apps with these features.

The investor segments most interested in wearables for financial services were 51 percent of active traders, 49 percent of investors under the age of 44, 46 percent of E*Trade customers and 39 percent of female investors.

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Wearables have potential to attract more investors and traders

Mobile is proving itself to be indispensable in this sector as consumers increasingly gravitate towards bite-sized pieces of content on smartphones or smartwatches, including tracking the stock market.

“Much like when smartphones were first introduced, delivering stock and market data to the palm of consumer’s hands, we believe the Apple Watch and other wearables will become another entry point for consumers to become investors,” Mr. Vaed said. “As such, our marketing strategy moving forward will aim to continue connecting with our customers and prospects wherever they lead their digital lives.”

Increased trading activity
The report also examined mobile trends of 2015’s first quarter as compared to last year’s Q4. One of the key takeaways is that mobile investing is absolutely essential for many consumers, especially those who engage in it in their spare time or on-the-go.

Sixty-four percent of investors, with 81 percent under the age of 44, claim that the ability to invest while on the move is critical. Mobile and tablet devices are best-suited to these types of financial transactions.

E*Trade found that mobile investing as a whole has seen a significant uptick, with 34 percent of surveyed investors saying they use their smartphones for these purposes very or somewhat frequently, a number which is up 5 percentage points from 2014’s Q4. Meanwhile, 49 percent of participants use a mobile application for trading or investing two to three times weekly.

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E*Trade’s mobile app offers a plethora of financial services and capabilities

Ultimately, the future for mobile investing looks to be positive, with 51 percent of investors aiming to increase their smartphone use over the next year.

Checking stock quotes was determined to be the most popular investing function on smartphones, followed by monitoring portfolios and watching a market movement.

E*Trade, which offers investing apps for a slew of devices, including Android and iOS smartphones, Windows phones and the Kindle Fire tablet, has also seen its mobile usage jump in the past year.

An E*Trade executive at the 2015 Mobile Marketing Association Forum New York revealed that 45 percent of the company’s daily users leverage its iOS 8 biometric security function, which enables users to sign into their account by pressing their finger against an identification button, proving that Touch ID is optimal for financial marketers (see story).

Ultimately, consumers’ demand for mobile investment opportunities will continue to rise as time progresses.

“As far as trading capabilities, the E*Trade mobile app offers everything from screeners and streaming news to help investors find investment ideas, all the way to executing equities, single and multi-legged options trades,” Mr. Vaed said. “The mobile app also offers educational videos on retirement and long-term investing, portfolio and market monitoring capabilities and stock and ETF screeners.

“We have a history of bringing the latest innovations to our mobile offerings, be it Touch ID-based authentication, streaming TV,  bar code scanning or voice recognition technology.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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Alex Samuely is staff writer on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York. Reach her at alex@mobilemarketer.com.

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