Customer adoption of mobile Fintech in the South African middle income market

Jacobs, Penelope Lucy
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The financial industry level changes are adaptations to changes already taking place at a consumer level. Consumer behaviours are changing owing to the centrality of digital products accessed on mobile phones. Therefore, consumer lives are increasingly being digitally transformed. This study sought to chart both industry and consumer changes that are taking place in the middle income market of South Africa. This middle income market is highly banked and likely to be on the ‘right side of the digital divide’ in terms of high accessibility to digital products and services. However, this customer market’s digital transformation journey has not filtered down as much into individuals’ financial lives as into their social lives. As a result, this study explored factors that contribute to the customer adoption of mobile fintech in this market. A mixed methodology was employed, where multiple methods were used to firstly examine both positive facilitators and negative barriers to the customer adoption of mobile fintech in the middle income market. The top positive factors were found to be facilitators such as attitude, behavioural intention, and customer needs (utilitarian factors). The only found negative factor was the barrier of self-efficacy. Moreover, additional factors, outside of the found barriers and facilitators, further explained the nature of customer adoption for this context. Secondly, the middle income market’s digitally transforming behaviours were explored and found to be ungeneralisable due to nuances according to the various income and digital profile segments. As the middle income market is found to be an under-researched area when compared to underbanked and unbanked markets, this study clarifies the nature of this market at this time. It is a diverse customer segment that requires strategic enablers from fintechs, incumbent banks and government players if it is to show an accelerated curve in the adoption of mobile fintech
A research report submitted to the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management, University of the Witwatersrand, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Management (in the field of Digital Business), 2021
Customer Adoption, Consumer Behaviour, Fintech, Mobile Financial Technology, Digital Transformation, Technology Acceptance, Middle Income Market