New Finance to Digital Nomads

Understanding key industry trends, consumer motivations and behaviours in the financial services industry

In a fast-changing world, the ability to understand and anticipate new and emerging industry trends puts your brand ahead of the game.

But how can brands keep pace with emerging trends? It often feels like, as soon as a brand has latched on to a consumer trend, it becomes old hat. The key to keeping up lies in successfully interpreting large volumes of online conversations around your topic of interest, extracting information about potential influences on buyer behaviour, and how these might be evolving. Listening to consumer conversations helps you gain insights into their motivations and behaviours, driving the design of more effective targeted marketing campaigns.

It’s important to illustrate how brands can harness social media analytics and AI-Powered Consumer Insights to perform trend analysis, enabling them to better understand the online conversation. This article will focus on a recent trend intersecting the world of financial services: digital nomadism.

The key points to understand are:

  • How this trend has changed over time
  • Major consumer motivations
  • Other influences on buyer behaviour  

Work without borders

The rise of the digital nomad lifestyle across Europe (and the rest of the world) represents a major shift in the nature of work in the 21st century. As might be expected, this move towards location-independent freelancing has spurred significant evolution in the financial services industry. Digital nomads have a unique set of financial needs – such as borderless transactions and banking on the move – and a whole host of new services have already sprung up to cater for them.

Along with the digital nomad trend, wider changes are emerging for the personal finance industry. According to a 2015 report from Goldman Sachs, 33% of millennials “thought they wouldn’t need a bank in five years”, while 71% “feel no relationship with their bank”. With millennials representing the largest chunk of the digital nomad population, this is clearly a significant concern for traditional banks as well as for more innovative personal finance brands.

Nomads often claim that traditional banks ‘let them down’ in a number of ways, including making it difficult and/or costly to move money across borders, levying large fees for overseas ATM transactions, along with all the hassles involved in receiving bank communications when you’re always on the move and have no fixed address.

Unfolding a trend

Digital nomadism is certainly a hot topic, but does this trend have real staying power? It’s critical for brands to understand and be able to predict the rise and longevity of new trends. Analysing online conversation volumes over longer time frames can help achieve this. Crimson Hexagon recorded the conversation volume from January 2016 until June 2018, focusing on the EMEA region.

As the below graph shows, online conversation volume around the digital nomad finance topic has been increasing slowly but steadily from one year to the next. This is an important indicator that this trend is likely to have long-term staying power, as opposed to being a more short-term ‘fad’.  

Within the digital nomad conversation, a range of sub-topics can be identified by looking at how they rise and fall over time. In the below chart, we can see the top discussion topic is ‘Price and Currency’, followed by ‘Digital Entrepreneur’. For marketers in financial services, these insights merit deeper exploration, as their very presence suggests that targeting these issues would likely resonate with the digital nomad audience.  

Footloose financials

Below is a snapshot of the most popular keywords in the online conversation about digital nomadism and finance.

Financial issues clearly play a central role in the digital nomad lifestyle; that’s why fintech brands can be confident that this target audience is a good fit for them. In particular, digital nomads often talk about specific issues such as taxes, investing, saving and remote jobs. Any of these topics could be compelling starting points for financial services marketers to dig deeper.

Looking at some actual consumer quotes from digital nomad conversations, Crimson Hexagon focused on the topic of taxes, a perennial concern for all freelancers, and one that’s becoming even more confusing with the rise of cross-border self-employment.

As seen from these quotes (taken from forums and Twitter), nomadic digital entrepreneurs tend to look for online accountants who provide easy access from anywhere with an internet connection. Affordable fees are another must-have. For digital nomads, it’s also important to gain a good working knowledge of the various tax deductions available to freelancers, and learn about different strategies for dealing with international taxation across borders.

Conclusion

For Europe’s growing community of digital nomads and location-independent entrepreneurs, financial issues remain critical. Common issues include taxes, cross-border payments, currency exchange, investing and finding remote clients.

Want to learn more about Crimson Hexagon and trend analysis? Check out our 5-Minute Guide to Industry Trend Analysis here!

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