Is UX more important than the price in 2021?

A few years ago, researchers and trend watchers worldwide predicted that in 2020 User Experience would become more important than the cost of products.

Now, as 2021 gets going, it’s about time to say “check”. Has UX become more significant than the price, when faced with the unexpected events of 2020? Are customers willing to pay more for a better user experience during the global economic crisis? Additionally, is the financial industry willing to pay more for a better user experience, or are they just looking at the commission?

  1. What is UX?
  2. Why users pay more for a better UX?
  3. Are the same factors relevant in 2021?
  4. Why is UX worth investing in now?
  5. Build customer trust with best-fitted UX

What is UX?

ISO 9241-210 provides a formal definition of User Experience:

User’s perceptions and responses that result from the use and/or anticipated use of a system, a product, or a service

ISO standard also provides the main factors that influence User Experience. Some of them are directly connected to a product or a service (e.g., functionality, system performance or brand image), while others are more connected to the user (e.g., prior experiences, skills or even personality). And the last important factor to be taken into consideration here is the context of use.

When working on the User Experience aspect of a product or a service, it is not enough to only consider the product. What we also need to do is build a persona to focus on the user in broader perspective, including the context in which he/she lives in and uses the product. This allows us to provide better service and, at the same time, increase the revenue.

Why users pay more for better user experience?

To answer this question, let’s look at the PWC report, “Experience is everything: Here’s how to get it right” (2018). According to it:

  • 73% of all people point to customer experience as an essential factor in their purchasing decisions.
  • At the same time, respondents indicated that they could pay more for a good Customer Experience: from 7% more for car insurance or a winter coat to 16% more for coffee.
  • The same PWC report explains what User Experience means for people. The most critical factors are efficiency, convenience and friendly service.
  • Banking industry is on the second place (after healthcare) when it comes to the importance of Customer Experience when making purchase decisions.

Which factors are relevant in 2021?

Efficiency & convenience

During lockdown, users were no longer able to sort out their financial matters traditionally (e.g., going to the bank or using cash was impossible or not recommended). Given the need to sort out the problem, implementing new solutions quickly was crucial in building brand loyalty. Simultaneously, new ways of dealing with old matters will stay with us for longer, especially if they are convenient and help develop new contact channels with the user.

Empathy & friendliness

Confronted with interpersonal relations, the way we contact our clients becomes even more critical. Especially when they are in their day-to-day life, burdened by the need of isolation, increasing loneliness and separation from their loved ones. The conviction that their needs are heard and taken care of by a friendly and trustworthy person on the other end was of great importance in building brand attachment.

At the same time, the feeling of automaticity in communication was discouraging. All positive experiences will be valuable when faced with the progressive automation of contact (e.g., chatbots). Companies already investing in personalised UX, skilfully designed conversational interfaces in this area will gain advantage.

Cross channel experience

We do not use one touchpoint for contact anymore. Instead, we use different channels to a greater extent. This trend, existing earlier, accelerated in 2020, including areas previously reluctant to change. Technology support is essential, regardless of service type, even the one associated quite clearly with face-to-face contact. Users expect the possibility to use different channels (like desktop, smartphone, tablets, ATM, etc.) together, in order to get better User Experience. They can pay with their smartphone, make a smooth money transfer directly in the shop when they go beyond their balance and pay their bills through the desktop site if they prefer to. The more options you give, keeping User Experience consistent, the more customers you gain.


Security has become one of the most popular topics of 2021, from physical security in physical services (e.g., contactless payment) to digital security. It is also the aspect of the greatest importance in case of performing data sensitive activities online, like official matters like voting, getting medical advice or remote learning. A sense of security, open brand communication and an ethical approach to data processing are the issues that users are increasingly aware of. Even though security was always important in the financial sector, users’ awareness now may make them pay more to the brands that give them better confidence.

Sustainability and ethics

Although the topic was popular earlier, and environmental care and ethical behaviour became an increasingly frequent factor in choosing a service in developed societies, COVID-19 made us aware of being responsible for each other. Companies that focus on these issues gained an additional advantage. In this respect, there is growing support for the local community, issues related to ecology, caring for the natural environment, and ethical aspects of running a business (e.g., treatment of employees during a crisis).

Why is user experience worth investing in now?

As the global situation shows, User Experience becomes even more significant than the price now, and nothing seems to change that trend. Investing in well-designed User and Customer Experience is substantial because:

  • it ensures loyalty – having loyal customers during the pandemic proved to be a great value, and people willingly turned to what they knew and appreciated in the world of unknowns,
  • it means easier acquisition of customers who have used the service in a more traditional way so far. The more human contact we provide, the easier it will be for people who were previously digitally excluded,
  • based on research, it allows us to quickly adapt to the changing world – if we observe our clients and their needs and continuously examine their satisfaction, we know them better and adapt better to implementing changes,
  • may be more important than the price in an uncertain world – trust created by positive experiences is worth the higher price.

Build customer trust with best-fitted user experience

User Experience affects many areas, especially services. As a multi-dimensional solution, positive customer experience can be built, among others, by efficient service, an employee’s smile, a consistent mobile application, and the fact that the users feel safe or use environmentally friendly services.

What is more, user may be more discouraged by services lacking a secure solution than by the price itself.

When it comes to the finances, a well-designed customer experience seems to be more important than in other areas of the market. Aspects like security, easiness of use, lack of errors or multichannel experience are inseparable from modern financial solutions.

Also, as we’ve seen numerous times in the last few years, users’ needs and experience should not taken for granted and can be re-evaluated at any time.

One thing has not changed though – you must constantly get to know your customers’ needs and provide a good User Experience, which is now more crucial than ever.


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