Having just released the earnings report for Q2 2015 (Q3 2015 in Apple’s fiscal year), Apple pronounced some interesting results. While the company sold 47.53 million iPhones in the last quarter, the revenues derived from the iPad are continuing to decline: only 10.93 million iPads have been sold in Q2. There are still no numbers for the Apple Watch but we know that its launch has caused a serious hype, leading to a real race for Apple Watch apps among retail banks worldwide. However, after skyrocketing at the beginning, sales seemingly went down quickly according to Slice Intelligence.
So what’s the future for banking apps? We can definitely say that iOS and Android devices will continue to dominate the apps market, particularly in the banking sector. Particularly some private banks and wealth managers have in the past published some of their apps only on iOS assuming that wealthy clients will have a clear preference for Apple devices. Today, we can clearly refute this assumption with the exception of only a few local markets (Switzerland has been so far one of the few examples of strong iOS dominance). What will be interesting to see is the development among the respective devices and their screen sizes. Will the trend for bigger screens – enforced by the launch of the iPhone 6 Plus – elbow tablet devices out of the market or will there be a reversal in consumers’ taste such that phablets will definitely leave the stage in favor of a more diverse use of mobile devices? We are convinced that tablets will play a strong but clearly defined role in the world of banking apps. Sales of the iPad may take a dive but this has not necessarily implications for the usage frequency of tablets. It is more likely that this reflects that customers have longer intervals for buying a new tablet as compared to their smart phones; plus there is now ferocious competition in the tablet market, undermining the market share of the iPad.
However for the time being, smartphone apps are clearly in the lead and banks should focus on the development of apps, which work optimally on these devices. Particularly among the wealthier clients, however, tablet devices are just as popular for viewing investment portfolios, interactive graphics, articles, and video material. Hence, banks and wealth managers should closely watch market trends and listen to their customers to be able to react fast and adequately. Only time can tell what role smartwatches will play in the future but considering the Apple Watch has been the hot topic of the first half of 2015, we are currently taking a closer look at banking apps developed for smartwatches as an interesting add-on for our upcoming report on Mobile Apps for Banking 2015 (see last year’s edition here).