Growing Trend of Consumer Internet Companies Entering Financial Services

Have you ever checked out the Google Trends for FinTech? There is a debate about when the word was first used – you get a different result depending on the Google result you click on. But it wasn’t until 2014 that there was a meaningful uptick in the collective conscience of people Googling about FinTech. And today, FinTech is the ‘place to be’ for consumer internet giants with Google Pay and WhatsApp Pay being the talk of the FinTech fraternity.

Consumer internet companies have ruled the smartphone era over the last decade and a half. Now, many unicorns in this space are attempting to ease financial services to aid their core commerce layers. It’s not too different – when you look back, large business conglomerates of yesteryears have ventured into financial services to foster their core B2C businesses (think Tata Group or Reliance Group in India catering to their retail businesses or the large global auto OEMs with their financing arms). Today, technology has proven to be the more potent distribution channel not only to solve for the movement of goods & services but also for movement of money.

For today’s insights, we delved deep into the unicorns from the consumer internet segment, which encompasses all B2C internet/mobile companies that have emerged in the last 15 years predominantly in e-commerce, food, transportation, and media/social media among others to track their activity in providing financial services.

  • A total of 37 (out of the 137 analyzed) consumer tech giants provide some kind of financial service. About one-third of these companies provide more than one financial service.

  • Transportation and e-commerce companies are the leading categories that provide financial services (one of payments, lending or insurance). Around 45% of the transportation companies and 36% of the e-commerce companies that have entered financial services provide more than one financial service (either payments, lending or insurance).

  • Chinese and Indian consumer tech companies are more aggressive when it comes to offering financial services on their platforms. A total of 6 out of 11 companies in India and China provide more than one financial service offering compared to 4 out of 13 in the US and 3 out of 13 in the rest of the world.