swiss migration survey 2023 change bank home insurance phone car
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Swiss Are More Likely to Change Their Doctor Than Their Bank

April 19, 2023 - Benjamin Manz

Phone, bank, health insurance: This new moneyland.ch survey shows which things Swiss are most ready to change, as well as the areas in which Swiss tend to be creatures of habit.

How often have Swiss changed jobs, homes, or cars in the past 10 years? The 2023 Swiss Migration Study by moneyland.ch aims to answer these and other questions. The representative survey reveals which things the population is most ready to change, and which things people are hesitant to change.

The overwhelming majority (93 percent) have changed their smartphone at least once in the past 10 years. Around half (51 percent) of residents have changed their phones at least three times. Other items which an exceptionally large portion of survey participants have changed at least once in the last decade include computers (84 percent), cars (79 percent), and television sets (76 percent), as shown in table 1 below.

A remarkable point is that participants change their phones much more frequently than their mobile plans. While more than half have changed their phones at least three times, only 23 percent – just under one third – have changed their mobile plan. “That is not hugely surprising. For most Swiss, buying a new phone is a source of enjoyment. Changing mobile plans, on the other hand, is just as unpopular as filling out tax returns,” says moneyland.ch telecom expert Ralf Beyeler. “But the unwillingness to migrate is a mistake, because changing mobile plans can save huge amounts of money.”

Low migration in financial services

Swiss unreadiness to migrate is most acute when it comes to financial services. Only 36 percent have changed their asset manager or their go-to bank in the past decade. Swiss are also creatures of habit when it comes to getting loans or using bank accounts (both 37 percent).

The survey results show that more residents are willing to migrate to a new family doctor (57 percent) than to change their bank or other financial services provider. “Migrating between banks is still unpopular in Switzerland,” observes moneyland.ch CEO Benjamin Manz. “From a financial viewpoint, most people would benefit from changing service providers, as fees and charges vary broadly between banks.”

But the current turbulence surrounding Credit Suisse and the Swiss banking system may affect that. “It is likely that some customers will stop and ask themselves whether they really want to remain loyal to their current bank,” says Manz.

Table 1: Readiness to migrate in Switzerland

How often have you changed the
following in the past ten years?

At least once At least three times At least five times
Smartphone 93% 51% 15%
Computer 84% 24% 8%
Car 79% 23% 8%
Television set 76% 19% 6%
Bed 72% 18% 6%
Mobile plan 70% 23% 6%
Hairstyle 67% 39% 19%
Job 66% 27% 9%
Internet plan 65% 21% 6%
Home 62% 23% 8%
Bicycle 61% 19% 7%
Hobby 59% 31% 13%
Style of clothing 58% 33% 15%
TV plan 58% 19% 6%
Family doctor 57% 15% 5%
Health insurance 54% 21% 8%
Credit card issuer 53% 18% 6%
Car insurance 52% 18% 6%
Legal insurance 43% 14% 6%
Stock broker 38% 18% 7%
Mortgage 38% 17% 6%
Personal loan provider 37% 19% 7%
Pillar 3a solution 37% 15% 6%
Savings account 37% 14% 6%
Private account 37% 14% 5%
Asset manager 36% 20% 9%
Main bank 36% 13% 5%
Life insurance 34% 17% 6%

 

In addition to showing which sectors are most prone to migration, it also reveals the things which Swiss change exceptionally often. 19 percent of participants say that they have changed their hairstyle at least five times over the past decade. Hairstyles are followed by phones and clothing styles (each 15 percent), and hobbies (13 percent).

Hardly anyone changes health insurance often

What about health insurance, where climbing premiums offer a strong incentive to change insurers? More than half of survey participants say that they have changed their insurer at least once in the past ten years. But that does not mean that Swiss readily migrate: Just 8 percent have changed their health insurance provider at least five times over the past decade (every two years, on average).

In many cases, the same health insurance companies remain among the most affordable options for several years at a time. Because of that, changing insurers every year is not always an urgent need, from a financial perspective,” explains Manz. But he is clear on one point: “Many residents could save large amounts of money by changing health insurance providers. That has been clearly shown by moneyland.ch’s annual studies.”

French-speaking Swiss are more likely to migrate

Residents of French-speaking Switzerland change their health insurance providers much more often than German-speaking Swiss. “That is likely because health insurance premiums are higher, on average, in French-speaking Switzerland than in German-speaking cantons,” clarifies Manz.

More generally, the survey shows that Swiss in the Romandie tend to change more willingly than other residents. For example, 67 percent of survey participants in French-speaking regions say that they have changed their hobby at least once in the last ten years, compared to 55 percent in German-speaking Switzerland.

Older residents rarely migrate

A look at different age groups shows that older residents are less likely to make major changes. For example, just 39 percent of adults in this age group have changed their home at least once in the past ten years (table 2). On the other hand, 79 percent of residents between the ages of 26 and 49 years old have moved homes at least once, and 11 percent have moved more than five times. Of residents between 18 and 25 years old, 69 percent have changed homes in the past decade.  

Young people also show above-average readiness to change their style of clothing and their hairstyles. One-fourth have changed their style of clothing at least five times in the last ten years, compared to 18 percent of adults aged 26 to 49, and just 7 percent of adults aged 50 to 74.

Adults in the middle age group are most likely to change financial services. For example, 49 percent of participants aged 26 to 49 have changed private accounts at least once, compared to 21 percent in the oldest age group, and 43 percent of young adults.

Table 2: Readiness to migrate by age group

How often have you changed the
following in the past ten years?
18-25 26-49 50-74
At least once At least once At least once
Smartphone 95% 93% 92%
Computer 85% 85% 84%
Car 69% 81% 79%
Television set 73% 79% 72%
Bed 89% 79% 58%
Mobile plan 81% 75% 60%
Hairstyle 86% 76% 49%
Job 77% 77% 46%
Internet plan 73% 75% 50%
Home 69% 79% 39%

 

Women change their hairstyle, men change their bank account

Women are much more likely to change their hairstyle than men, and do this more often. Nearly one-fourth of women (24 percent) say that they have changed their hairstyle at least five times in the past ten years, compared to just 14 percent of men.

Men, for their part, are somewhat more ready to make changes in areas where migrating is generally unpopular. This is especially true for financial services. For example, 41 percent of men have changed their savings account and pillar 3a solution at least once in the past decade, compared to a much lower 33 percent of women.

 

More on this topic:
Get the detailed tables here (German PDF)

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Expert Benjamin Manz
Benjamin Manz is CEO of moneyland.ch and an independent expert on banking and finance.