A mobile website is designed specifically for the smaller screens and touch-screen capabilities of smartphones and tablets. A mobile app, which is designed for specific information, must be downloaded and installed. So which do Defined Contribution plan participants prefer to access, the browser or the app?
At least half of DC plan participants prefer to go to their financial advisor’s website via a browser, according to Spectrem Group’s DC Participants Insight Series report, Using Social Media and Mobile Technology in Financial Decisions. Spectrem. This is a substantial increase over 2015, when only 37 percent of DC plan participants expressed a preference for going directly to a company website as opposed to an app designed for their smartphone or tablet.
Just over one-in-five DC participants prefer to access their financial advisor’s app, while roughly three-in-ten express no preference. Each option holds different advantages. The largest percentages of those who prefer the browser say they like to access their advisor’s or provider’s entire website. Just over one-fourth (26 percent) think a browser is more user-friendly in relation to website navigation. Website security is another perceived advantage over using an app.
DC plan participants who prefer using an app do so largely because it provides information more quickly. One-fourth state that the information accessed via an app is easier to understand. A small percentage prefers an app because they don’t have to worry about having an internet connection.
Apps downloaded to their smartphones and tablets are DC plan participants’ slightly preferred method for making inquiries and gathering information about their retirement plan, the Spectrem study finds, followed closely by accessing a website on their smartphone and their PC/Mac, and tablet. When it comes to making retirement plan transactions, an app for their tablet and accessing the website on the PC/Mac are the preferred methods, DC plan participants indicate. Here, men participants indicate a greater comfort level than women in using an app or website on their smartphone to make retirement plan transactions.
Website or app, investors look to advisors and providers to provide information they can access via mobile technology.
Top Takeaways for Advisors and Providers:
· Websites must be mobile-friendly since plan participants of all ages are accessing plan information via smartphones and tablets.
· While usage is smaller, branded apps for smartphones and tablets must be available to supplement the website. Some transactions are easier to complete via app on a mobile phone (i.e. searching for a balance) and younger participants prefer apps.
Advisors and providers need to communicate with clients to ease security concerns they may have about their retirement plan information on both an app and on the website
©2016 Spectrem Group