In this text, you can find some analytics that may help reveal the sweet spots for business and investment on the world’s map in 2021. Certain regions and countries are friendly to innovation that have millions of users with a high level of tech adoption and expanding fintech market.
How FinTech was doing in 2020
According to the World Bank’s report, based on the survey in summer 2020, there are FinTech companies showed some growth in the first half of 2020 compared month-on-month with 2019. They digital asses exchange businesses, companies in payments, savings, and wealth management: their growth in transactions and volumes exceeded 10%.
The situation wasn’t so good for digital lending businesses: they experience a slight slump in the first half of 2020. Other sources, like S&P Global, demonstrate the lending industry reports some recovery in the second half of the first pandemic year.
In the World Bank’s survey, the fintech market players said they faced some funding and operational challenges to keep the lights on.
Two in three companies said they adjusted their business model to the changing market conditions: reduced fees, reconsidered the qualification criteria, and eased the payment requirements. 60% of businesses launched new products and value-added services, while 40% announced working on improved security during the pandemic.
What about regions?
However, the growth of North American fintech is a very encouraging surprise if we take into account the year 2020 challenges. The US market growth made 21% according to the World Bank. Both Canada and the USA are included on the list of Top 10 Fintech Markets.
The market of Canada takes the 9th position, with a population of 37.5 million people, and the market focus on Cryptocurrency & Blockchain, Digital Lending, and Insurance services.
The fintech market of the USA is a rating leader with a population of 329 million along with a $9.4 billion fintech investment. The market focus encompasses Payments, Security, and B2B Fintech. Securities regulators in the US may create some aggressive enforcement, however, it cannot reduce the attractiveness of investment in the US fintech sector.
There are several ratings of European countries leading in fintech innovation, but most of them include the United Kingdom, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Lithuania, and Estonia.
London, as one of the greatest European fintech hubs, is famous for a great number of accelerators for fintech startups (over 20), bringing up billion-worth fintech businesses. The UK’s fintech strengths include Alternative lending, Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies, Payments, Personal Finance, and Wealth Management.
What is worth mentioning is that some acceleration platforms are aimed at increasing the number of women in fintech and reducing the gender gap.
Switzerland, sometimes styled as a crypto-valley, has a historical reputation as a major financial hub and is another European fintech center with a population of 8.6 million and a focus on Wealth Management and Crowdfunding in addition to Blockchain.
The Netherlands is known for Digital Payments, Investment, and Alternative Lending. A population of 17.1 million people has a very high level of tech adoption.
Swedish fintech startups mostly are SME banking, Payments, and Neobanks. The population is 10 million, while the number of digital financial services users is potentially high due to socio-demographic parameters.
Lithuania is a relatively new member of such ratings with a relatively small population of 2.8 million people. However, its major fintech hub in Vilnius and over 170 fintech companies based in the country help Lithuania to strengthen its positions. The fintech market focus is Lending, Payments, and Banking.
Estonian fintech is known for Payments, Alternative Lending, and Personal Finance. A country that is even smaller than Lithuania in the population (1.3 million), is highly potent to become a large fintech hub with lots of accelerators and a favorable investment climate.
In the Asia Pacific region, India is named one of the world’s fastest-growing fintech markets by RBSA Advisors. In the second quarter of 2020, India gained $647 million in investment closing 30+ fintech deals. For the same period, China’s fintech investment reached $285 million. With a population of almost 1.4 billion, no wonder the country’s fintech industry is growing for the past 10 years with a focus on Payments, Lending, and Wealth Management.
As for Singapore’s fintech market: its key strengths are Insurtech, Payments, and Lending. Similar to the UK in Europe, Singapore is known in the Asia Pacific for 20+ fintech accelerators. The population is 5.8 million. Significant government investment, such as $735 million in 2019, and favorable tax policy make the country one of the regional fintech leaders.
Africa and the Middle East
The strongest fintech market growth is noticed in the Middle East and North Africa – it almost reached 40% there, while 21% growth is documented for sub-Saharan Africa. As for the developing countries and emerging fintech markets – such growth is predictable due to initially low levels. It indicates that more deals are likely to happen in developing countries with a high percentage of the unbanked or underbanked population, which provides a huge opportunity for rapid growth.
3 factors promoting the fintech sector growth
According to the World Bank research, there are certain conditions that create fertile ground for the fintech industry. They include:
- Top-notch technologies and tech adoption, which help fuel innovation in the industry (for example, AI, security technology, mobile technologies).
- The investment climate in the fintech hubs.
- The macroeconomic situation, pandemic, and other social changes, which have a negative impact on traditional financial services and, as a result, lead to the emergence of fintech startups.
The Bottom Line
Discussing the fintech growth, it is vital to understand its positive social impact: better affordability of financial services is extremely important for reducing poverty and promoting economic growth. Digital access to financial services reduces service costs, expands user outreach, and can help minimize the physical presence in banks and financial institutions to keep up the economic activity these days.
About the author:
In 2018, he was ranked as one of the top 200 Fintech leaders in Europe who contribute to the industry as influencers through action.
In 2019, Dmitry was ranked as one of the most influential AI leaders in Eastern Europe.
Since 2020 Dmitry Dolgorukov is a member of the Forbes Finance Council.