How banks can avoid the fate of BlackBerry (Part 1)

There was once a time when the mobile smartphone market was dominated by BlackBerry handsets.

How banks can avoid the fate of BlackBerry (Part 1)

In recent years BlackBerry’s sales have plummeted and it seems unlikely they will ever regain the level of dominance and market share they once enjoyed.

The company has been eclipsed by the likes of Apple, Samsung and Google’s Android who disrupted the market by providing new products, services and customer experience with their own smartphone innovations. The lesson for retail banks is that BlackBerry provides an example of an incumbent business that is now in decline after it failed to adapt to innovations in technology and changing demands and expectations from consumers. The question being asked of retail bank incumbents is whether they are facing their very own BlackBerry moment?

Incumbents versus challengers

Incumbent banks currently find themselves in a dominant position as a consequence of their size and customer base, however, such a position can quickly lead to complacency and conservatism. New challenger banks such as Monzo, Starling, Atom and Fidor have very different ideas on what the future of banking may look like and do not share many of the traditional views held by incumbents.

Challenger banks are seeking to do something different in banking and have been quick to recognise changing consumer behaviour and how technology can provide new services and customer experiences. Unlike the incumbents, they are starting from a point where their business models and relationships with customers are very different. They understand that ‘millennials’ are more open to digital banking experimentation. They do not share the same level of brand loyalty as older consumers, and expect very different things when consuming financial services. Incumbents can still rely on the diverse portfolio of products that serve their older customer base, but technological innovation and changing consumer behaviour will ultimately lead to a new business model in the future.