Fintechs Are Among Fastest Growing Brands in 2021
A quarter of the spots on Morning Consult’s 2021 Fastest Growing Brands list were held by fintechs, a testament to consumers’ increased digital adoption throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and the investment environment that has seen record funding for fintech companies. Of the 20 fastest growing brands this year, the fintechs making the list were Coinbase, Afterpay, CashApp, Chime, and Bitcoin.
In 2020, Chime, CashApp, and Venmo made the list, but the increased retail investing throughout the year sparked “crypto curiosity,” which benefitted Coinbase and Bitcoin in 2021. Consumers also embraced different payment options like “buy now, pay later” (BNPL), which solidified Afterpay’s spot on the list.
Increased fintech funding in recent years likely attributed to their presence as fastest growing brands. Research from CB Insights found a jump in funding from $10.4 billion in 2017 to $17.1 billion in 2018, and then a steady rise until 2020’s high of $23.1 billion. Funding jumped again in 2021, as fintechs received nearly double 2020’s funding at $44.3 billion.
Most of the brands on the list have a strong millennial base, but the growth of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Coinbase was primarily driven by Gen Z. In October, Gen Z made up 21 percent of Coinbase’s total purchasing and 28 percent of Bitcoin’s total purchasing.
Another advantage putting fintechs on the list is that they are boundaryless and payment-focused. They do not need a branch network or physical footprint, and consumers have shown throughout the pandemic a desire for BNPL, better access to their earned wages, and more ways to pay.
Alternatively, fintechs and other companies investing in their own crypto capabilities and blockchain innovation could result in fractured relations between consumers and financial service providers. Morning Consult noted that fintechs can continue to be successful if they focus on creating the best offerings for consumers instead of owning “full” customer relationships.