Accenture’s ground-breaking 2019 Global Financial Services Consumer Study has seen four mindsets emerge from the data: Pioneers, Sceptics, Traditionalists and Pragmatists. In this series of blog posts, we’ll look at each type in the Australian context.¹

The global view

Pragmatists are evenly distributed across ages and geographies—unlike Traditionalists, who are generally older, or Pioneers, who are typically younger—this is a mindset that cuts across basic demographic groups.

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As their name suggests, they are practical in their choices. When it comes to accessing information, they are channel-agnostic, with 77 percent saying that any channel will do if it provides what they need.

Their flexible approach goes some way to explaining why Pragmatists are broadly satisfied with their current financial services providers. They’re trusting, to a point, but are still wary—for example, 79 percent say they are alert and cautious about data privacy.

In other words, Pragmatists simply want to get done whatever task is in front of them. Innovation is neither inherently positive nor negative for them; they’re open to it, but its value depends on whether it can help them complete the task at hand. But how do Pragmatists fare in the Australian context?

The local view

Australia has proportionately more Pragmatists than the typical country we studied: 28 percent locally versus a 23 percent average in the other 27 markets.

This greater weighting of Pragmatists, along with the greater weighting of Traditionalists at 32 percent, makes Australia unique in the Asia-Pacific region. These two mindsets represent 60 percent of respondents; in most of the other countries, that total is in the 20 percent range.

This links directly to a challenge we often encounter when talking with our clients about new or experimental technologies: an overly black-and-white view of how their existing customer base will respond to a new service or feature. Banking and insurance executives are often either enthused by an idea they think will capture the imagination of a Pioneer or are inclined to discount an idea they fear will be rejected by a Sceptic.

In many ways, Pragmatists are reflective of the Australian consumer market overall, being refreshingly uncomplicated…

We see it differently: Australia’s market is comprised predominantly of Traditionalists and Pragmatists, and these mindsets offer plenty of grey areas in which to play. As our blog post on Traditionalists shows, they aren’t anti-technology under all circumstances—it’s just that new technological advances need to be proven in order to get their interest. Similarly, Pragmatists may be risk-averse but still respond to efficiency and effectiveness.

In many ways, Pragmatists are reflective of the Australian consumer market overall, being refreshingly uncomplicated: open to provable, practical innovations; uninterested in gimmicks; willing to trust and share data when their provider justifies the need. It may not be an easy group to win over with a single ‘killer app’, but it responds to practical, logical value propositions. For example, neobank Xinja does not have fees, is transparent about its business model and encourages consumers to use whatever financial institutions suit their different needs.

When a business case for a new product or service holds up, then the Pragmatist camp holds great promise for uptake, too. In that, they share the view of Pioneers that they are willing to experiment with something new—if only to see if it provides them with a better experience. That’s not to say that this element is unique to Australia; it isn’t, but it is more pronounced here.


1 You can learn more about this in episode 14 of our podcast series on Embracing Tech in Financial Services: How Well Do You Really Understand Your Consumer?

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