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					Northern Ireland Consumers–
    what are they like?!
           A snapshot of consumers in 2010


                    Philippa McKeown
              Senior Consumer Affairs Officer


Home Economics Teachers’ Conferences 10 & 11 February 2011
What’s keeping them awake at night?

           Making ends meet


             “I am worried about being able to make                     “I am worried about being able to make
                     ends meet right now.”                                     ends meet in the future.”



               Strongly disagree                                          Strongly disagree
                                              Strongly agree                                        Strongly agree
                              4%                                                        3%
          Tend to                                                    Tend to
         disagree                        21%                        disagree     17%            27%
                    24%


                                                                               16%

                     19%                   31%
                                                                                              37%
              Neither/                                                   Neither/
                   nor                     Tend to agree                      nor               Tend to agree



                          Base: 1008 adults in NI, June/July 2010
What’s keeping them awake at night?


   “…just the whole credit crunch         “Especially this last year I find
  thing, just more conscious about          it desperate. Hard to live.
   money and your job maybe just           More so if you have to keep
      doesn‟t seem as secure”                  sticking to a budget”
        Female, Belfast, 18-34              Female, Enniskillen, 18-34


                       “the two big words, for me,
                         are uncertainty and fear
                         from this credit crunch”
                            Male, Belfast, 36-54
Meet the ‘New vulnerables’

                                            The proportion of 25-34
                                            year olds having difficulty
    “I think there should be a lot more
 support for people that are married, you   keeping up with their
  know, with children…that are working      finances is considerably
        „cause it‟s kind of that you‟re
               disadvantaged.               larger than other age
            Female, Derry, 18-34            groups, (32% compared to
                                            21% among 16-24 year
                                            olds and 24% among 35-44
                                            year olds).
                                            Consumer 2010 research
Who else is ‘vulnerable’?

The following groups are defined as vulnerable because they tend to have
less consumer knowledge, skills and confidence:
• young people;
• older people; and
• those in socio-economic group DE1

Earlier research also identified the following groups:

• consumers living in rural areas
• consumers with a disability; and
• consumers from an ethnic or minority background2

1 Source:   Well, what do consumers know now, Consumer Proficiency 2003 – 2007
2   Source: Consumer Knowledge, well, what do you know? Consumer Council 2004
Changing behaviour

 Unless you really need something you
 know you‟d say “No, I don‟t really need
 that”. I mean I can‟t afford it anyway so.              “ … it‟s not just going and
 Male, Derry, 55                                         filling your trolley up
                                                         regardless of price.”
                                                         Female, Belfast, 35-55,



          I‟ve started going up to the bigger shop for
          food instead of going to the local shop, you
          know, every night for your dinner type of
          thing, you know, wee bits here, wee bits…
          it‟s amazing the difference it does make.
          Male, Belfast 18-34
Changing behaviour


“… everybody‟s pulling on their reins a
bit and everybody‟s a bit afraid to
spend… my husband too we were
saying “Let‟s try and save a wee bit of   “And don‟t take out any of the
money” „cause you don‟t know what‟s       loans because the interest these
coming.”                                  days is mad. They‟re always saying
Female, Derry, 18-34                      “We‟ll give you £3,000” and they‟re
                                          saying it online. But really, you‟re
                                          paying back £5,000 or £6,000.”
                                          Male, Derry, 18-34
Where do we do our consuming?


         Shopping locations / outlets
         Do you ever shop for goods and services via any of the
         following?
                                               %

         Supermarket                                                               97

         Local / indep. traders                                               87

         Out of town mall                                                69

         Online                                                     48

         Mail order catalogues                                 26

         TV Channels                                    10
         Door step selling                          6
         Telesales                              2


                     Base: 1008 adults in NI, June/July 2010
Who shops where?


Out of town malls are used less by:

• older people (54 per cent compared
  to 69 per cent overall);

• people who live alone (50 per cent);
  and

• people living on lower household
  incomes (56 per cent).
Service with a smile

Customer service is still the most
important factor used by NI
consumers to judge a
trader/service provider.

Honesty and integrity comes a
close second.

Competitive pricing comes third.
Source: BITC/Ipsos MORI (2010), Corporate Image and
Corporate Responsibility in Northern Ireland
Taking Credit
Almost three in ten consumers in NI has a credit card (29 per cent)

Many pay their credit card bill in full (56 per cent), however, the number
that pay back over time increased from 29 per cent in 2008 to 37 per
cent in 2010.

Those who pay back over time are more likely to be under the age of 44
and in socio-economic group DE.

This might reflect a greater tendency to borrow on the credit card as a
way of paying off other debts or day-to-day bills.
Rural disadvantage
Rural consumers face barriers due to:

• Shortcomings in public transport (issues with
  restricted routes, cost and frequency); and

• Reduced broadband and mobile
  phone coverage.
Sustainability matters

 Willingness to pay for renewable energy
 Would you be willing to pay this additional cost on your
 electricity bill so that Northern Ireland can increase the
 amount of renewable energy it uses?



                                                          Yes I would be
                                                          willing
  No, I would not              46%
        be willing                                  54%                    “Our environment‟s only going to
                                                                           last for so many years. I‟ll see it
                                                                           in my lifetime but you‟ve got to
                                                                           think of our children and our
                                                                           children‟s children …”
          Base: 1008 adults in NI, June/July 2010

                                                                           Male, Derry, 18-34, C2
Responsible consumerism

Concern about climate change has increased from 10 per
cent in 2004 to 37 per cent in 2009 and it is the biggest
environmental concern for the Northern Ireland public.

Further research in Northern Ireland shows strong or
moderate support for simple everyday actions to tackle
climate change such as support (73%) for shops charging
for plastic bags¹.

¹ Rogerson, Bellingham, Shevtsosa (2009) Changing behaviour and attitudes to sustainability, for the
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment
Attitudes to switching

Despite consumers’ demand for more competition
and choice in the energy market, there were mixed
feelings about switching supplier.

    “Competition is good
                               “You‟re better with the devil
    for everybody.”
                               you know than the one you
    Male, Belfast, 35-54, DE
                               don‟t know.”
                               Male, Enniskillen, 55+, BC1
What we think about banks (edited!)

                   “I really think it‟s extraordinary the
                   charges for being overdrawn… I
                   was £2 over and got charged
                   £35…” Female, Enniskillen, 34-54




    “I‟m with the Bank of
                                              “…that‟s the problem, you
    Ireland because I started
    an account in primary                     stick with one [bank] that the
    school…”                                  family stick with.”
     Female, Belfast, 18-34, BC1              Male, Belfast, 18-34, BC1
The e-consumer
More homes are connected to broadband in Northern
Ireland (70 per cent) than in Scotland (61 per cent) and
Wales (64 per cent) and we’re on a par with England (73 per
cent).

This is despite broadband currently being unavailable in
many rural areas.

More than a third of NI consumers have a social networking
site profile, this is also on a par with GB.
The online shopper
 By age:

 • Internet shopping peaks among 25-34 year olds (65 per cent).

 • Half of 45-54 year olds shop online (52 per cent).

 • Less 55-64 year olds shop online (37 per cent).

 • Only 14 per cent of over 65’s shop online.
The online shopper

  By income:

  • 79 per cent of those with high household incomes shop online.

  • 29 per cent of those with low household incomes shop online.
The online shopper
Family status:

Of the 483 people who had shopped online for goods and services,
60 per cent had children under 16 years old and 40 per cent did not.

Marital status:

Of the 483 people who had shopped for goods and services online:

• 56 per cent were married

• 22 per cent were widowed, separated or divorced

• 49 per cent were single
The online shopper

Perceived benefits:

• 61 per cent of online shoppers mention convenience as the main reason
  for shopping online.

• Over half (54 per cent) mention online prices as a benefit.

• About a third say the range of choice available is the reason they shop
 online.
The online shopper
Perceived benefits:


Interestingly, the perceived benefits differ according to gender:

66 per cent of women mention convenience as a major benefit
compared to 57 per cent of men.

In contrast, 59 per cent of men mentioned price as the greatest benefit
compared to 48 per cent of women.
The online shopper

 Barriers to shopping online:

 • 44 per cent of consumers who don’t shop
   online said not having access to the internet
   was the main reason.

 • 49 per cent of those are from lower income
   backgrounds.

 • 22 per cent say a lack of internet knowledge
   and skills is the reason why they don’t shop
   online.
The online shopper
Barriers to shopping online:


• 21 per cent prefer to physically see
  goods and services before they buy.

• 16 per cent don’t shop online because
  of concerns about security.

• 4 per cent don’t shop online because
  they haven’t got a debit or credit card.
  This reason is most prevalent among
  young people (11 per cent).
The online shopper
 Rights online:

 Only four in ten NI consumers feel confident about their rights when
 buying online.

 Among those who do shop online, 69 per cent stated they feel confident
 about their rights. This drops to 13 per cent among those who don’t
 shop online.

 56 per cent of 18-24 year olds feel well informed about their online
 shopping rights compared to only 11 per cent of over 65s.
Further information

Available to download from:

www.consumercouncil.org.uk/publications

Ipsos MORI ‘Consumer 2010’ research report – full
report

Consumer 2010 – executive summary

Consumer Manifesto
How the Consumer Council stays in-touch



• Consumer panels
• Focus groups
• Consumer support team
• Presentations/exhibitions
• Omnibus surveys

				
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posted:10/19/2011
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