Mumbai: The online medium is the most preferred source of information for Internet users, with more than two-thirds of them using online sources when researching financial products, Google India said in a report on the financial services industry.
With more than 99 million urban Indian users now active on the Internet, financial services need to adopt a new approach to engage and serve the needs of digitally savvy customers, said the report, which combined Google search trends in India and an independent research report conducted by TNS Australia.
The total search volume for finance-related queries is growing at more than 43% year-on-year, said the report released on Thursday.
It also highlighted the increase in the use of mobile phones to surf the Internet for finance-related information, with mobile queries on Google search growing three times faster than searches from desktop computers. Every one out of 10 finance-related queries in India comes from mobile phones, it said.
Banking queries grew at 85% from the year earlier, investment related queries grew 105% and insurance queries grew 75% on mobiles.
The influence of Internet research was the highest for loans (75% home loans, 73% personal loans), followed by insurance (motor insurance 70%, health insurance 70% and life insurance 69%).
During the online research phase, more than 66% of Internet users in the market for financial products changed their purchase decisions, the report said.
The Internet played an important role at various stages of the buying process, with more than 42% of the users surveyed saying they had become aware of new products and brands. About 58% said the Internet helped in their initial research and over 62% used the Internet for intense research before deciding on the final purchase.
While the final purchase of the product or service is still an offline transaction, Internet research influenced two out of three applications.
“India today has over 137 million Internet users, and a very high percentage of those users are urban users (99 million), with high disposable income,” said Rajan Anandan, managing director and vice-president (sales and operations) at Google India.
“Given the reach of Internet to high-value customers and its influence on the decision-making for financial products, we believe that financial services can create significant value by innovating on the digital medium and adopting an ‘online first’ approach to serve the needs of digitally savvy customers,” he added.