YouGov’s latest survey shows that digital banking has become increasingly popular in Saudi Arabia, with nine out of ten respondents (91%) saying they prefer banking online. In addition to this, 86% of respondents have even shown an intent to switch to digital-only banking methods in the future.
Digitization has not just revolutionised banking but also facilitated the growth of digital currencies. Over the last few years, the cryptocurrency market has rapidly expanded. Data shows that in Saudi Arabia, cryptocurrency has as an asset class has generated a fair amount of awareness, and more than three-quarters of residents (77%) claim to be aware of it.
While awareness is high, only 18% currently trade in cryptocurrencies. Young adults between 25-34 years are more likely to say they are dealing in cryptocurrencies (at 25%), while older adults aged 45+ seem hesitant and don’t intend to deal with it (37%).
Popularity of cryptocurrencies is also higher among high-income households (earning SAR 30,000+), and they are more likely than others to trade in this asset class.
Despite the small number of active crypto investors in the country, the future of this digital asset looks promising as more than a third (34%) of surveyed respondents who are aware about cryptocurrencies said they intend to invest in them. The idea of investing in crypto is more appealing to men than women (36% vs 30%).
A quarter (25%) of those aware, do not intend to invest in cryptocurrency and almost as many (23%) are simply unaware of it.
Currently, the key motivation for most KSA residents who either invest or plan to invest in digital currencies is the easy accessibility of virtual coins for trading (49%).
High returns compared to other investments (43%) comes as the second biggest motivator, and this aspect has a higher appeal among 45+ adults as compared to the rest.
Many invest in crypto to diversify their portfolio (38%), because they consider this mode secure (27%), transparent (15%) or because they think it is a long-term investment option (20%). Few invest based on recommendations from friends and family (13%).
Crypto as a means of diversifying investment portfolio is considered to be more of a stimulating reason for high-income individuals earning 30,000+, while recommendations from friends and family is more important to those earning SAR 2000 to 15000 than others.
Although people are motivated to invest in cryptos, there are many who deter from investing in this asset. Almost two in five (37%) KSA residents who do not plan to invest in cryptocurrencies consider the volatility and instability of the virtual currency market as the key factor discouraging them from investing.
No past investment experience (36%) and lack of knowledge (31%) are also seen as top deterrents. Women are more likely than men to cite these reasons for not investing.
Religion beliefs (15%) and cybersecurity threats (13%) are some other reasons for not wanting to invest in them.
Data was collected online among 1006 respondents in Saudi Arabia by YouGov’s Omnibus between February 1st – 7th, 2022 using YouGov’s panel of over 15 million people worldwide.