Despite the global situation, 2020 proved to be a very good year for fintech, with the sector experiencing great growth. Now at the beginning of a new year, many are wondering what 2021 has in store.
Joe Gardner is CEO and co-founder of VentureDevs, a software development firm providing digital product strategy, team augmentation, design, and development services to start-ups and global enterprises.
Here, Joe shares his thoughts on what 2021 has in store for the fintech market.
Formed during the economic fallout of the Great Recession, today’s financial technology market has driven a decade of innovation across the financial services space, the insurance industry, and the technology landscape. From online payment platforms such as Venmo to direct-to-consumer investing applications such as RobinHood, key fintech players have seized opportunities from traditional financial institutions that have been slow to adapt.
Now, as the global economy weathers the financial disruption of Covid-19, the fintech market is poised to solidify gains made over the past decade. Pressures unique to a global health crisis have driven commerce online, limited face-to-face interactions with financial professionals, and forced consumers and businesses alike to think critically about their own long-term spending and saving.
At each of these junctures, fintech firms have delivered the services that consumers and businesses need to save funds, receive financial advice, and invest in their future needs. For teams looking to break into the fintech market or stakeholders hoping to build partnerships with fintech firms, this means that it’s important to understand where financial technology companies have been, where they are now, and where they’re likely to go in the future.
Fintech Market Growth
The fintech market isn’t a monolith. From lending and insurance to investing and banking, a diverse array of key firms have risen up to meet emerging market needs, as well as disrupt traditional financial services sectors. According to Forbes, these are the top ten companies in fintech right now, ones that represent a compelling cross-section of a dynamic and maturing tech market: Stripe, Ripple, Coinbase, Robinhood, Chime, Plaid, SoFi, CreditKarma, Opendoor, and Root.
In 2018, the global fintech market was worth nearly $128 billion. Experts predicted an annual growth rate of approximately 25% through 2022, which would have led to a total investment valuation of $310 billion for the fintech market — barring the effects of the Covid-19 crisis.
Within the fintech space, shifting consumer behaviour and emerging technologies are driving growth. For example, the rapidly developing e-commerce market has been a boon to fintech platforms, with a CAGR of 10% to 12% alone. Similarly, other fintech capabilities are experiencing high CAGRs, such as blockchain, regtech, and digital lending.
Fintech Market Opportunities
Going forward, fintech companies have compelling opportunities on their own and in partnership with existing financial institutions. For instance, approximately 67% of bank executives believe that fintech will fundamentally change digital wallets and mobile payments worldwide — a strategic opening for new partnerships structured around refreshing outdated transaction models.
On the consumer side of things, there is significant growth potential. Fintechs that have historically placed a premium on the user experience will do well. For example, 60% of consumers want to transact with financial institutions that offer streamlined digital platforms or online tools. With the average weekly usage of fintech apps rising 20% in the US in the earliest stages of the pandemic, stakeholders that provide these platforms will have a leg up.
These trends reflect the underlying logic of the fintech market: that the best financial tools make users’ lives easier and their financial lives more secure. Whether they’re making mobile payments with PayPal, completing transactions with Apple Pay, or getting into the stock market with RobinHood, users crave digital platforms that update traditional financial interactions to reduce friction — making it that much easier to become financially active and informed.
Transformative Technology and Developing Challenges
For other tech firms and service providers looking to get involved in the fintech space, key opportunities in emerging tech will be paramount. Among financial services leaders predicting what technologies will transform their industry: 56% say AI, 44% say big data, 43% say cloud computing, and 40% say blockchain.
From investment advice to smarter insurance claims management, these technologies have the potential to be game-changing — if they’re implemented successfully. Whether you’re a smaller startup or part of an established enterprise, bringing fintech products to market in a way that consumers consider a value-add and that complies with one of the most complicated regulatory environments of any industry is a considerable challenge.
To get there, fintech stakeholders should focus on the user, whether that’s a regular consumer looking for tools to budget better or a small business investing in more advanced POS technology. By getting users onboard and creating tools that they trust with their financial lives, fintech companies can make a positive impact — and a lasting market impression.
When it comes to compliance, there’s a real opportunity for partnerships between traditional financial professionals and visionary startups. While market newcomers can take advantage of unserved niches across the financial space, working with financial services experts can ensure that fresh-faced fintech startups build their futures on solid ground.
Where Fintech Goes from Here
The total economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the fintech space is, as yet, undetermined. While market growth has slowed around the world, there are still signs that the fintech market specifically has found a way forward — even during the global health crisis and economic emergency — in such a way that will maintain growth and provide insights into future business.
With fintech app usage rising in the earliest stages of the pandemic, as previously discussed, it seems that consumers are increasingly turning to these tools to handle their banking, investment, and additional financial needs at a critical moment. To account for risk in the market, fintech firms and their partners should be looking for ways to answer key user needs while shoring up their core business functions.
If they do, they’ll be tapping into a dynamic, critical market that’s poised for considerable growth and engaging partnership opportunities. It’s theirs for the taking.