Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Diebold study focuses on ATM habits

A recent study from Diebold takes a look at the banking preferences of Boomers, Gen-X and -Y consumers, and the results have some clear implications for the kiosk industry. According to this synopsis on, "The analysis considers three distinct demographic groups in its findings: baby boomers (age 43 and older), Generation X (ages 26-42) and Generation Y (ages 18-25)" the article continues to discuss the findings saying, "Specifically, study results reveal that automated teller machine (ATM) usage continues to find strong support across generations. In fact, the study shows that aside from withdrawing cash, all generations unilaterally rate viewing account balances, making deposits and transferring funds between accounts as their three most-preferred ATM services."

So what does this mean? Simply put, if ATMs can top the traditional banking system in terms of consumer preference, then it's possible kiosks providing different services can also do the same.

Younger customers are more tech savvy and our lifestyles reflect that. I would fall in the "Generation Y" category, which according to the study showed the biggest preference for ATMs, and I know for a fact that I use banks as little as possible. I also know that more advanced technology makes my life easier in some ways and makes it more hectic in others. While ATMs may save me the time of going to the bank, I also compulsively check my e-mail sometimes to the point of addiction. Regardless, I've grown up with a variety of advancements that came into their prime during my lifetime and most of them seem more natural to me than anything that came before it. And I'm certainly not alone. I can't remember how many times my friends from college would ask me in all seriousness, "How did they do reports before the internet?"

When relating these concepts to kiosks, the key is that everything has to lead back to convenience. That's how to get the attention of the average, everyday consumer. Flashiness doesn't matter nearly as much as practicality. I doubt that my generation is any lazier than past ones, but we do expect a certain level of convenience that comes from our constant exposure to technology. If we can do something at a screen instead of doing it in person (and it's not a social thing), then we will. It's more comfortable for us, and it's almost always faster and more convenient too.

A lot of companies in the kiosk business get this, and more businesses are starting to hop on the bandwagon. Now there are places in public where we can download songs, pay bills and even get directions. It's a trend that is only going to grow stronger. ATMs lead the way. But now airport check-in kiosks are pretty much universally accepted, and hotel check-in kiosks are rapidly catching up. I wonder what the next "killer-app" kiosk will be?

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