More European consumers will bank on their tablets than on their mobile phones by as soon as 2016, according to Forrester’s European digital banking forecast for 2014 to 2018. While mobile banking use in Europe will grow fast — from 42 million users in 2013 to 99 million in 2018 — tablet banking will grow twice as fast — from 19 million users in 2013 to 115 million in 2018. Growing tablet ownership, the increased availability of tablet banking apps, and fewer security fears among tablet users versus mobile users are among the key drivers behind the explosive tablet banking growth predicted by the report.

“As customers start using their tablets and smartphones to do their banking, some will stop using their desktop and laptop PCs,” writes Forrester analyst Stephen Walker. “We expect the number of Western European online banking users on PCs and tablets to grow slowly in the next five years and reach 163 million by 2018, masking a big underlying shift from PCs to tablets to access banks’ websites.”

The new forecast covers digital banking adoption across seven European countries — France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and the UK. Other findings include: 

  • France is the only country in the forecast where tablet banking will not overtake mobile banking by 2016, as it combines lower tablet adoption than the other EU countries (apart from Italy) with the highest mobile banking adoption after the Netherlands and Sweden. 
  • Forrester expects the proportion of European tablet owners who bank on tablets to almost double from 35% in 2013 to 68% by 2018. In 2018, Sweden will have the highest tablet banking adoption at 89%, while Italy will have the lowest at 54%. 
  • Leading European banks, such as France’s BNP Paribas and Société Générale, Germany’s Postbank and Sparkassen, and Sweden’s Swedbank, have already had tablet-optimized apps for two or three years. Many other banks will follow over the next 24 months, encouraging more customers to use their tablets for banking. 
  • Consumers are unlikely to ever trust mobiles as much as PCs and tablets, given that the latter two are largely at-home devices that are rarely lost and therefore intrinsically feel more secure to consumers. Tablet users today are less likely than other online users to not use online banking because of security concerns.