Website vs. App: Which Do HNW Investors Prefer?


 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 High Net Worth investors prefer to access, the website or the app? Regardless of wealth level and the device used, at least half of HNW investors prefer to go to their financial advisor’s website. This is a substantial increase over 2015, when roughly three-in-ten wealthy households expressed a preference for going directly to a company website as opposed to an app designed for their smartphone or tablet.  

Spectrem Group’s wealth segmentation study, Using Social Media and Mobile Technology for Financial Decisions, find an increase over last year in usage of smartphones and tablets as well as PC/Macs. The study examines social media and mobile technology usage of Mass Affluent investors with a net worth between $100,000-$1 million (not including primary residence), Millionaires with a net worth between $1 million and $5 million, and Ultra High Net Worth investors with a net worth between $5 million-$25 million.

Roughly three-in-ten investors express no preference between a website or app. The wealthiest investors are likelier than less wealthy households to prefer to go directly to their financial advisor’s app, but it is a low percentage, 20 percent, which is seven percentage points less than in 2015.

Why do HNW investors prefer a website to an app? Primarily, they indicate they do not like the content limitations of an app. They also consider websites to be easier to navigate, as a website’s pages can be displayed in search results. They also perceive websites to be more secure, a primary concern among investors who worry about the security of their financial information online.

Of the HNW investors who prefer the app, the largest percentage consider the quicker access to information preferable to accessing an entire website. They also consider it an advantage that an app can be used without having to worry about having an internet connection.

In analyzing attitudes and behaviors concerning websites and apps, age is not as strong a factor as one might think, which speaks to how pervasive apps have become. Gen Xers are more likely than their younger and older counterparts to indicate a preference for accessing an entire website and not being limited by an app. And the oldest investors are more likely than younger generations to consider websites to be more secure.

Surprisingly, Baby Boomers, rather than Millennials, comprise the largest percentage of Affluent investors across all wealth levels who prefer an app to a website on their smartphones or tablets.

Top Takeaways for Advisors and Providers

Website or app, investors look to advisor and providers to provide information they can access via mobile technology.

·      Websites must be mobile-friendly since investors of all ages are accessing financial information via smartphones and tablets.

·      While usage is smaller, branded apps for smartphones and tablets must be available to supplement the website.

·      Advisors need to communicate with clients to ease security concerns they may have about their financial information on an app.