Demographic Research - Robo-Investors

Part
01
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Part
01

Demographic Research - Robo-Investors (Acorns)

Acorns' typical customer is an American male in his early 30s, who makes an upper-middle-class income and holds a relatively small investment with the platform.

Demographic Summary

  • An average Acorns' customer is approximately 32 years of age, with the investing service attracting customers as old as 98.
  • Additionally, the vast majority of Acorns' approximately 4.5 million users is based in the US, although a small subset of over 500,000 customers is based in Australia.
  • Within the US, Acorns' customers are distributed fairly evenly throughout the country, as opposed to being concentrated on the East or West Coast.
  • Meanwhile, the annual income of the typical customer is between $50,000 and $60,000, and the average Acorns customer invests approximately $50 or $60 per month.
  • Moreover, dividing over $1.2 billion in assets under management by over 4.5 million customers suggests an average total investment of $267.
  • Finally, the typical Acorns customer is male, with only 35% of the app's users being female.
Part
02
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Part
02

Demographic Research - Robo-Investors (Betterment)

Betterment's investment services users are mostly males aged 35 years old on average. Betterment's users range from low-income investors ($100-$500 in deposits) to accredited investors (over $10 million in assets under management). These and other insights are outlined below.

User Age and Gender

Insights on Investment Size

Insights on Income

Insights on Location

  • Betterment only operates in the United States and does not accept international customers for regulatory reasons.
  • It also supports residents in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, but not in Guam.
  • SimilarWeb reported that 94.19% of desktop traffic on Betterment.com comes from the United States.
Part
03
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Part
03

Demographic Research - Robo-Investors (Wealthfront)

The typical Wealthfront investor is 32 years old, male, and has $40,900 in his account. He is Asian American and lives on the West Coast, most likely in one of the larger cities, such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle.

WEALTHFRONT DEMOGRAPHICS

Average size of investment

  • The average size of investment held or operated by Wealthfront users on the platform is $40,900.

Income level

  • Wealthfront has a high proportion of high net worth (HNW) customers. HNW customers account for 25 — 50% of Wealthfront's assets under management.

Age

  • The investment services provider is aiming to be the "leading automated financial advisor for people under 40" and is actively targeting Millennial users.
  • 90% of Wealthfront's 220,000 clients are currently under the age of 45, while the average age is 32.
  • A larger demographic of robo investors showcased the following statistics, which are applicable for Betterment, Wealthfront, and Vanguard: 31% of those in the age group of 18 to 22 use robo advisors, 22% of those aged 23-38, and only 9% of investors aged 47-54.
  • According to its 2018 annual survey, users aged 20 – 25 save 18% of their annual pretax salary, on average. This is around triple the national average savings rate.

Gender

Race

  • According to a FINRA Investor Education Foundation and CFA Institute regarding robo advisors in the US, 28% of Caucasian users of robo investor services are projected to be investing in taxable accounts, compared to 20% of African American users, 29% of Asian Americans, and 20% of Hispanics.
  • This statistic is applicable across all investment services providers as the study found no race differentials in investment preferences between different providers.

Geographical location

  • Wealthfront and Betterment are the two major rivals when it comes to regional coverage due to the place where each company is headquartered.
  • As Wealthfront was established in San Francisco, it is dominating the West Coast while it loses the battle on the East Coast due to New York being the home ground for Betterment.
  • The majority of Wealthfront's investors live in coastal cities such as New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, and Seattle.
Part
04
of seven
Part
04

Demographic Research - Robo-Investors (Marcus)

Marcus' target investment users are aged 55 to 73 years old and have between $100,000 and $1 million in liquid assets. Marcus' potential investment users are based in the US. These and other insights are outlined below.

User Age

  • CBS reported that Marcus is targeted towards millennials.
  • In 2019, Pew defined millennials to be people aged 23 to 38 years old.
  • However, Marcus is also targeting the mass affluent for its investment and wealth management products.
  • Market Research reported that US mass affluent households are largely dominated by Baby Boomers, aged 55 to 73 years old.
  • Millennials are also growing their affluence at a fast pace but still hold a minor share of US affluent households.

Insights on Investment Size

Insights on Gender

  • While Marcus targets all mass consumers, CBS reported that the platform may run into potential bias concerns against women.
  • The allegation is based on Goldman Sachs' algorithm used to approve iPhone-based credit card applications.
  • The algorithm reportedly charged higher interests and gave lower credit limits to female applicants. Marcus could also be using the same algorithm in approving loans.
  • Due to a business decision to approve only individual accounts based on individual incomes, men are more likely to be given lower interest rates and higher credit limits.
  • The algorithm could also cause discrimination against African-American women as they are statistically more likely to be single parents.

Insights on Income

  • CBS reported that Marcus is targeted towards middle-income millennials.
  • Marcus' marketing focus is also targeted towards the masses, according to Tearsheet.
  • However, PYMNTS reported this 2019 that Marcus is set on capturing mass affluent users with its wealth management products.
  • Business Insider defined these investment users as having $100,000 to $1 million in liquid assets.

Insights on Location

Part
05
of seven
Part
05

Demographic Research - Robo-Investors (Scalable Capital)

The average investment per customer of Scalable Capital is €35,000. Its customers are high-earning professionals with most having a university degree in business, information technology or engineering. Further insights into Scalable Capital's users have been provided below.

Scalable Capital — Demographics Insights

  • As at the end of 2017, the average age of Scalable Capital's clients was 50. Just over a year before that, the average age stood at 42.
  • More than 33% of its clients were also above the age of 55 as at the end of 2017.
  • In the press release announcing its new funding in August 2019, the company notes that it manages ‎€35,000 per client. This figure is ‎€7,000 (€35,000€28,000) more than the reported average investment per client in 2017.
  • In the same press release cited above, the company reports that about 33% of the "total assets under management are in portfolios with a balance of more than 100,000 Euros." Also, one in two of Scalable Capital's customers has a savings plan that averages around €400.
  • About 29% of Scalable Capital's customers are females, while males account for about 71% of the client base.
  • Scalable Capital currently has about 50,000 client portfolios. According to an article published in May 2018, 20,000 customers of German bank ING-DiBA had "invested over £440 million in the company."
  • A bulk of the company's customers are high-earning professionals. Scalable Capital reports that over 66% of its customers "have a university degree in business, information technology or engineering." In a 2017 press release, the company notes that 90% of its customers have a university degree.
  • An article published by Business Insider in 2017 reports that the average annual income of Scalable Capital's customers was €120,000. The same article also noted that the net worth of a typical customer ranged from €250,000 to €1 million.

Research Strategy

We commenced our research into the demographics of Scalable Capital's customers/users by conducting a thorough search of its website. In particular, we were interested in its annual reports, but soon found out that the company has not published any annual report. We then shifted our attention to press releases authored by the company. This second approach provided two press releases (here and here) in which the company discussed some user demographics. Although one of the press releases was published in November 2017, it still contained relevant demographic data.

In search of more comprehensive and recent data, we continued our research by looking for reports on the fintech industry in Europe to see if such reports published data on the subject matter. While we found different reports (here and here)on the fintech industry that covered Scalable Capital, the focus of these reports were on the company's asset under management, partnerships, funding received, and other general information about the company.

Our next strategy was to conduct a press search on the user demographics of the company, with a specific focus on interviews by key executives in the company. However, we found that while there was a lot of coverage on the company, a lot of the user demographics in the media were just a regurgitation of the data presented in the press releases we found earlier. Additionally, the coverage of the company also centered on funding, the adoption of wealthtech, and asset under management.

Due to the lack of more recent data on some aspects of the requested information, we have presented the most recent data, which is from November 2017. One of the reasons for the lack of more recent information on Scalable Capital's user demographics is primarily because it is a private company.



Part
06
of seven
Part
06

Demographic Research - Robo-Investors (N26 Investment)

A deep search in the public domain reveals that the information on demographic analysis of people who make use of N26's investment services is non-existent, and the media mention on the specified topic is scarce. The most relevant media mention include the demographic profiles of N26 consumers in general. Below are the helpful findings and a detailed methodology on the request.

I) N26 General Consumer Demographic Profiles:

a) Age Range / Generation

  • N26 launched its recent branding campaign in the US, which celebrates diversity and highlights the benefits that it's target demographic, millennials, appreciate. The benefits include speed, security, peace of mind, transparency, and early access.
  • According to a Statista report, 17% of N26 consumers are between 18-24 years old, 42% are between 25-34 years old, 22% are between 35-44 years old, and 19% are 45 years and older.

b) Gender

  • According to a Global Web Index report, 58% of N26 challenger bank users are male, while 42% are female.
  • According to a report by Street Bees, conducted by AltFi, 44% of men are aware of the digital and challenger bank, N26, compared to 24% of women.

c) Income Level

  • According to a Global Web Index report, 34% of N26 challenger bank users are in the top 25% income level, 42% are in the middle-income level, while 15% of users are in the bottom 25% income level.

d) Geographical Locations

  • According to a Similar Web report, 28.04% of N26 users are from Germany, 19.15% are from France, 11.20% are from Italy, 6.13% are from Spain, and 4.5% are from the UK.

e) Average Size of Deposits by Consumers

  • According to a Gründer-Szene and Finanz-Szene research report, N26 gets an average deposit of €588 per depositor.

II) Helpful Findings:

a) N26 GmbH

  • N26, "The Mobile Bank," based in Berlin, is considered as the highest valued fintech company in Europe; it provides its services throughout Europe.
  • N26 was founded in 2013 by CEO Valentin Stalf, together with his longtime friend CFO Maximilian Tayenthal.
  • N26 currently serves "more than 3.5 million customers in 24 European markets, and it conducts 16 million transactions per month."
  • The company, N26, launched their mobile banking app in the US in July 2019, and it plans to start its operations in Brazil with the goal of reaching "over 50 million customers worldwide in the coming years."

b) N26 Invest


Research Strategy:

We found the broadened general demographic profiles of N26 Bank consumers, which includes their age range, gender, income level, average customer deposits, and geographical locations. To search for the required information, demographic analysis of people who make use of N26's investment services, we employed three research strategies outlined below:

We began our search by going through the company's website. Here, we searched for the company's press releases, annual reports, and shareholders reports for any relevant information about the customer demographics of N26 investment services. After a deep search, we could not find any relevant information on the demographic analysis of customers using N26's investment services. However, we could find that its investment services are called "N26 Invest". Also, we were able to discover general information about N26.

Next, we searched for the case studies or reports about N26 demographic profiles of N26 Invest customers, including age range, the average size of investment held/operated, gender, income level, and geographical locations. We went through sources such as Statista, KPMG, The Startup Founder, Lumos Business, Tech Crunch, Tear Sheet, and EU Startups, among others. However, we still didn't find any relevant information about specific demographic profiles of N26 Invest customers to address the research criteria. We could only find information about the updated number of customers of N26 in general, geographic locations of N26 operations, average customer deposits entrusted to N26, N26 age range demographics in general, and the company's primary target audience in general. Also, we found out that N26 is considered as a challenger bank or neobank, according to the KPMG report.

Finally, we searched for data and statistics that can be used for triangulation by using market intelligence sources such as Global Web Index, Deloitte, AltFi, EY, Cognizant, and Accenture, among others. Still, we could not find any relevant information that can be used for triangulation to address the research criteria. However, we only found the general consumer awareness statistics of N26, and the general gender and income level demographic profiles of broadened "challenger bank" consumers, which does not address the specific question about the general demographic characteristics of N26's users.

NOTE: Due to lack of pre-compiled reports or any data and statistics that can be used for triangulation, we, therefore, concluded that there is no publicly available information regarding demographic characteristics of N26 Invest users. This is because of reasons like; N26 is a private company that rarely discloses its internal information such as demographics.


Part
07
of seven
Part
07

Demographic Research - Robo-Investors (M1 Finance)

Most M1 Finance users belong to the mass affluent category and are millennials with investable assets of $10,000 to $500,000. There are sources suggesting that most M1 Finance users are male and are located in Chicago, Philadelphia, or Los Angeles. The average M1 Finance user is estimated to have around $4,000 in assets in his or her M1 Finance account.

Age

  • Of M1 Finance users, around 25% are 18 to 25 years old, while around 40% are 25 to 40 years old or mostly millennials.
  • Brian Barnes, chief executive officer of M1 Finance, describes the users of M1 Finance as "generally older and professionally experienced."

Investment Size

Gender

  • Twitter analytics provider Followerwonk shows that of M1 Finance's Twitter followers, 48.6% are male, 4.8% are female, and 45.9% have not disclosed their gender.
  • While M1 Finance's Twitter followers are not necessarily M1 Finance's users, the results are in line with survey results indicating that usage of robo-advisors is more common among men. Based on a survey, 27% of men use robo-advisors, while only 16% of women use robo-advisors.

Income

  • According to Barnes, M1 Finance's target market is the mass affluent.
  • Data and measurement firm Nielsen defines the mass affluent as individuals belonging to households with $250,000 to $1 million in liquid assets, while market research firm Packaged Facts defines the mass affluent as individuals belonging to households with $75,000 to $149,000 in income.

Location

  • As M1 Finance is a startup headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, and Barnes graduated from Stanford University in California, it is likely that a considerable fraction of its users are located in Illinois, California, and surrounding states.
  • Followerwonk shows that the majority of M1 Finance's Twitter followers are located in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. M1 Finance's Twitter followers are not necessarily M1 Finance's users, however.

Research Strategy

In determining the demographic profile of M1 Finance users, we employed a number of strategies. First, we checked if the demographic profile is readily available in the public domain. We did this by looking for recently published articles or reports that readily describe the age, gender, investment size, income, location, or other demographic characteristics of M1 Finance's users and target market, and by scouring M1 Finance's website for any demographic information. This initial strategy led us to only four relevant articles that were published by financial news outlet Benzinga, the Medill News Service of Northwestern University, and personal finance resources Listen Money Matters and Novi. The articles offer a number of insights into the age, income, and investment size of M1 Finance users.

Second, since M1 Finance provides its service through an app, we checked if there are tools that can analyze an app's user demographic profile for free. Flurry provides free mobile app analytics, including demographics, but unfortunately, M1 Finance is not among the apps that Flurry provides free analytics for. Sensor Tower provides some free insights about M1 Finance, but these free insights do not include demographics, and the demographic profile is paywalled. We had the same observation with the other app analytics tools that we tried (e.g., App Annie and Apptopia).

Third, as the demographic profile of M1 Finance's website visitors and social media followers may be indicative of the demographic profile of M1 Finance users, we turned to web and social media analytics tools such as SimilarWeb and Followerwonk. Web analytics provider SimilarWeb shows that 91.84% of M1 Finance website visitors are located in the United States; however, M1 Finance website visitors are not necessarily M1 Finance users. Also, M1 Finance is available for use in the United States only. Followerwonk, a Twitter analytics provider, shows the gender and geographic profile of M1 Finance's Twitter followers. Although M1 Finance's Twitter followers are not necessarily M1 Finance's users, we were able to find other sources that explain, to some extent, how the demographic profile of M1 Finance's Twitter followers could be representative of the demographic profile of M1 Finance users.
Sources
Sources

From Part 02
Quotes
  • "Millennials love technology, people think, so they must be ideal customers for an investing service that’s completely automated and easy to use. There is some truth to this; our own customer base is evidence of it (the average age of Betterment customers is 35, and about two-thirds of our customers are millennials)."
Quotes
  • "When Betterment was first launched, our customer base was mainly young folks in their twenties who were depositing $100-$500 to invest at a time."
  • "That client demographic has shifted dramatically over the years. Today, more than one-third of our business comes from customers who are at least 50 years old."
  • "Robo advisor Betterment currently manages $15 billion in assets for its more than 400,000 customers, firm CEO Jon Stein tells FA-IQ. "
Quotes
  • "Traffic by countries United States 94.19% United Kingdom 0.59%"
Quotes
  • "But Betterment says that's not the case, explaining it already has a number of customers with more than $10 million under management each."
  • "Betterment doesn't disclose how many of its accounts are held by accredited investors (who would be allowed by regulators to participate in complex investments such as hedge funds, venture capital, or private equity) but said it's well more than 25,000 of its 250,000 customers."
  • " The shift in marketing and advertising strategy is aimed at attracting more affluent customers just now becoming aware of the option."
  • "While affluent individuals are a big part of this new push, the firm said that its mission is still to attract people spanning the financial spectrum, and that was a part of the research process that went into the redesign."
  • ""We looked at people across the range in age and income," said Elyssa Gray, vice president in charge of brand at Betterment. "Regardless of the level of experience or the amount of money they had, there were a number of common denominators when it comes to financial services.""
Quotes
  • "Years after the Great Recession, household growth in the U.S. is on the rise – and skewing heavily toward higher income families. According to Affluent and High Net-Worth Americans, a recent white paper from Packaged Facts, post-recession household growth is most pronounced among affluent households, which grew by 90% from 2010 to 2019."
  • "Mass affluent ($75K-$149K) Base affluent ($150K-$249K) Middle affluent ($250K-$499K) Upper affluent ($500K+) High net worth (at least $1 million net worth) The top 2% (at least $5 million net worth)"
  • "1. The Affluent Society: Baby Boomers Maintain Grip on Wealth Share Baby Boomers - identified as individuals age 55-73 in 2019 - by far own the largest share of total household net worth in the U.S., with a 57% share."
Quotes
  • "Thanks to no minimum opening balance, low fees and simple investment setup, Betterment is the best option for new investors looking to make money in the markets with minimal personal involvement."
  • "Because Betterment builds in tax-loss harvesting, any investor can take advantage of opportunities formerly reserved for the wealthiest investors."
  • "They also target young and low-income investors because of their lower fees and investment minimums, when compared to those of hands-on advisors."
Quotes
  • "Who is eligible to use Betterment? Betterment currently only operates in the United States*, and for regulatory reasons cannot accept international customers residing outside the United States."
  • "Customers must have a permanent U.S. address, a U.S. Social Security Number or an ITIN, and a checking account from a U.S. bank."
  • "Betterment supports residents in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. We currently do not support residents in Guam."
From Part 04
Quotes
  • "Marcus has been marketing itself aggressively as the cooler startup inside Goldman Sachs that’s more relatable to the masses. "
  • "Its first campaign, launched last summer, focused on de-stigmatizing debt, one of the most personal and sensitive topics for people. "
  • "In October, it’s rolled out an anti-fee campaign scripted to show how frequently people accept fees without fully understanding why."
Quotes
  • "At the moment Marcus.com and our products are only available in the US."
  • "Interested US consumers can learn more by calling us toll-free at 1-844-MARCUS1 (1-844-627-2871) Monday to Saturday from 7 am to 9 pm E.T. "
Quotes
  • "Wealth management will be a component of Marcus as the firm looks to introduce new products, and where the market spans $9 trillion held by mass affluent customers in 20 million households. Efforts in that space are in the midpoint of development plans for a “blueprint,” said the CFO."
  • "“we estimate there are over $4 trillion consumer deposits in the U.S. that are potential customers for online savings accounts, like those offered by Marcus.”"
Quotes
  • "The investment bank's online banking platform, Marcus, which the Wall Street firm launched a few years ago to cater to middle-income millennials, parses the personal info that goes into its lending algorithm in a similar way as the Apple Card does. "
  • "Apple and Goldman Sachs face accusations that the algorithms behind the the companies' joint iPhone-based credit card can discriminate against women."
  • "But the researchers cite Marcus as a lending platform that could run into the same problems of bias documented in their study. Goldman said potential bias concerns about Marcus, which has almost $5 billion in loans outstanding, are unfounded."
  • "Marcus, like Apple Card, does not allow joint borrowers or any form of co-borrower or co-signer on a loan. Unlike Apple Card, however, Marcus does allow individuals to list their total household income on their loan application."
  • "The larger problem, experts said, is that only offering individual accounts, based heavily on individual incomes, would likely lead to men being issued higher credit limits with lower interest rates. "
  • ""Typically, the fact that joint borrowers are treated differently than single borrowers creates a disparate impact on African-American women because they are statistically more likely to be single mothers," said NCRC chief executive Jesse Van Tol."
Quotes
  • "Marcus has been available to US consumers since 2016, offering personal loans and online savings accounts."
  • "In the UK, Marcus launched its easy-access savings account — with a market-leading annual interest of 1.5% — in late 2018"
Quotes
  • "Traffic by countries United States 98.34% United Kingdom 0.25%"
Quotes
  • "Executives told The Mail on Sunday that the bank had attracted deposits of more than £2.3 billion. That means the average saver has deposited £23,000."
  • "'We have both in the US and the UK a very strong, successful, wealth management business for ultra-high net worth individuals,' Talwar said."
  • ""
Quotes
  • "So we launched what is called Marcus by Goldman Sachs, our online lending platform, around seven months ago. "
  • "Our average loan size is around $14,000, but I think what we are more thrilled about is how we got to the billion dollars."
Quotes
  • "Goldman Sachs is eyeing wealth management for the mass affluent as part of the continuing expansion of its nascent consumer banking business."
  • "Currently in the early stages of development, Goldman’s investment platform will likely include both digital capabilities and the ability to interact with human beings, Chief Financial Officer Stephen Scherr said Monday."
  • "Goldman’s wealth management offering will be part of Marcus, the consumer banking platform that the New York bank launched in 2016. U.S. consumers currently use that platform to make deposits and get personal loans."
Quotes
  • "Goldman Sachs revealed earlier this week it's developing an investment platform that will be offered via its digital offshoot Marcus and target US' mass affluent segment, consisting of individuals with liquid assets between $100,000 and $1 million, per American Banker."
  • "And Goldman is expected to expand Marcus' product suite further,including with insurance and mortgage offerings."
  • "On the other hand, Marcus poses a serious threat to neobanks and incumbents as it looks to become a one-stop shop for tech-savvy consumers."
Quotes
  • "Years after the Great Recession, household growth in the U.S. is on the rise – and skewing heavily toward higher income families. According to Affluent and High Net-Worth Americans, a recent white paper from Packaged Facts, post-recession household growth is most pronounced among affluent households, which grew by 90% from 2010 to 2019."
  • "Mass affluent ($75K-$149K)"
  • "1. The Affluent Society: Baby Boomers Maintain Grip on Wealth Share Baby Boomers - identified as individuals age 55-73 in 2019 - by far own the largest share of total household net worth in the U.S., with a 57% share. "
  • "2. Millennials: Gaining Affluence, But Lagging Previous Generations While Millennials are growing their affluence at a faster pace than other generations, they’ve got quite a bit of ground to make up otherwise, as the Packaged Facts ebook estimates that Millennials hold a mere 2% share of total affluent household net worth."
From Part 06