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Nordic millennials want payment apps that are convenient, simple and secure, and they want it all in one place – so-called simplex solutions. When selecting an app, they will look to their friends for advice rather than banks or financial institutions, and more than any generation before them they want to be able to share with their social circles their consuming habits. Value-added services are a given, and the only real obstacle would be a dead battery. ​

​Situated at the harbour, Copenhagen Street Food is a popular outing for trendy Copenhageners of all ages. Outside the old warehouse, guests indulge in food from all corners of the world after sharing it on Instagram. When the young families head home to tuck in their offspring, the DJ amps up the vibe as the millennial crowd order their first virgin mojitos and share it on Instagram. Virgin because the internet never forgets. And Instagram because more than any generation before them, millennials have a high desire to share their consuming habits with others and tell them about what they have been up to.


People born between 1980-2000 are born digital and a demographic under much scrutiny. They constitute a growing share of the population and are demanding consumers of digital solutions,  currently transitioning from childhood to adulthood with all the responsibilities it entails such as managing one's own financials.


They have the attention span of a goldfish, evil tongues would have it, prone to delete an app if it takes more than four seconds to load. Yet, according to a recent study among Nordic millennials, they differ very little from the general population in that respect:


"While US studies reveal a significant divide between the general population and millennials in terms of payment wants and needs, we don't have that huge divide in our part of the world between millennials and the older parts of the population," says Simon Buchwaldt-Nissen, Digital Practices, Nets, attributing it to the overall high levels of digitisation in the Nordic region. What did surprise him, though, was to see that, despite the region being so digitised, Nordic millennials are not that different to  their American cousins in terms of digital behaviour and preferences.


80% of Nordic millennials seek an app that can do it all rather than multiple dedicated apps, and to this end they are ready to put up with lower user-friendliness and high complexity – although they still expect a smooth user experience. To accommodate this, it becomes essential to implement design and user experience right from the outset when developing so-called simplex solutions that are simple yet complex.


Little trust in financial institutions

A recent survey conducted among almost 6,000 Nordic respondents (half-and-half millennials and control group) on behalf of Nets confirms the hypothesis that millennials would trust their peers over financial institutions any day: "Having the choice between a payment app issued by a well-known bank or financial company or one issued by a social media, millennials will go with the financial institutions, but most importantly, they will look to their peers for  recommendations, not least negative ones," explains Simon Buchwaldt-Nissen, Digital Practices, Nets.


47% respond that recommendations from friends, family or acquaintances motivate them to download a new app compared to just 29% in the control group, and top charts in App Store and Google Play influence 23% of millennials to buy an app compared to 4% in the control group. In fact, good ratings make all the difference for 24% of millennials compared to 4% of the control group, and 18% indicate that seeing others having downloaded the app entices them to do the same compared to just 4% in the control group.


"I think it's fair to say that although they're known to prefer a quiet night in watching digital content, millennials are not hermits but simply socialise differently than the generations before them," says Simon Buchwaldt-Nissen who has made a note of how being able to interact and share with friends is a motivational factor for 38% of millennials when downloading an app compared to 20% for the control group. The average millennial actually spends more time messaging every week than the duration of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, director's cut – including extra materials – as stated at the recent Millennials 2020 Conference in London.


Millennials are 15% more likely to share information about their habits in return for relevant offers – being able to preselect the kind of offer is essential, tying in with the 'Me Me Me' label often given to this generation.




Overall, the survey confirms that millennials' needs, attitudes and behaviours are impacted by their surroundings to a much higher degree than those of the control group, and it would thus seem fair to conclude that the social element in future payment methods will increase as millennials have a desire to make everything social and be able to share information about their whereabouts with their friends.


Convenience is king and security a given

More than any other groups, millennials are interested in paying higher amounts with a contactless payment method without using their pin as an extra security. This supports the assumption that to this segment, convenience is king. They are 10% more likely to use a contactless form of payment than the control group – in Denmark as much as 3-4 times more often than their Nordic cousins.


When asked about their preferences for mobile payment apps in the future, millennials have a much greater need to gather, simplify and store their transactions, coupons, memberships, receipts and warranties. Overall, it is consistently the segment with the highest interest in any value-added services that would come on top of the actual payment via the app. Again, convenience is key.


The main barrier for millennials when it comes to relying on mobile payment apps, it would seem, is the fear of a dead battery – 54% share this fear, which means they will still bring their physical card as back-up when shopping. 54% still feel it is safer to pay by card than by mobile in stores and do worry about security in payment apps which could explain why all those asked prefer a strong authentication scheme such as NemID or BankID, the Danish and Norwegian national identity schemes, when setting up their account.


Tech-savvy and self-reliant

Most millennials are tech-savvy and expect to be able to solve their own problems. When they do need assistance, they prefer electronic self-service solutions such as online chat with a person in Customer Services, help within the app itself or access to Q&A pages.  If fraud occurs, they expect to talk to a person, though, while the control group generally prefer talking to a person on the phone and don't mind waiting in a queue.


While several US studies have mapped millennials and their consumer habits and desires in the States, little had been done in the Nordics to guide financial institutions when developing tomorrow's payment solutions:


"We had an initial hypothesis that the US findings would be even more distinct in the Nordics, so we had to ask and find out," explains Simon Buchwaldt-Nissen, Digital Practices at Nets, who contracted with Response Analyse to perform a quantitative survey with a total of 5,700 respondents across Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland.


The survey unveils a number of desired features which Nets will be able to provide by further developing their current solutions along with new ones, benefiting from its position across the Nordic payment ecosystem.


"The study has given us a deeper understanding of the segment and will help our customers understand the end-users betters. Eventually, it will enable us to develop attractive products for our customers targeting millennials going forward," concludes Simon Buchwaldt-Nissen.






Simplex solutions 

80% of Nordic millennials seek an app that can do it all rather than multiple dedicated apps, and to this end they are ready to put up with lower user-friendliness and high complexity – although they still expect a smooth user experience. To accommodate this, it becomes essential to implement design and user experience right from the outset when developing so-called simplex solutions that are simple yet complex.