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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’

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Presentation on theme: "Northern Ireland Consumers– what are they like?! A snapshot of consumers in 2010 Philippa McKeown Senior Consumer Affairs Officer Home Economics Teachers’"— Presentation transcript:

1 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

2 What’s keeping them awake at night?

3 “…just the whole credit crunch thing, just more conscious about money and your job maybe just doesn’t seem as secure” Female, Belfast, “the two big words, for me, are uncertainty and fear from this credit crunch” Male, Belfast, “Especially this last year I find it desperate. Hard to live. More so if you have to keep sticking to a budget” Female, Enniskillen, What’s keeping them awake at night?

4 Meet the ‘New vulnerables’ “I think there should be a lot more support for people that are married, you know, with children…that are working ‘cause it’s kind of that you’re disadvantaged. Female, Derry, The proportion of year olds having difficulty keeping up with their finances is considerably larger than other age groups, (32% compared to 21% among year olds and 24% among year olds). Consumer 2010 research

5 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 DE 1 Earlier research also identified the following groups: consumers living in rural areas consumers with a disability; and consumers from an ethnic or minority background 2 1 Source: Well, what do consumers know now, Consumer Proficiency 2003 – Source: Consumer Knowledge, well, what do you know? Consumer Council 2004

6 Changing behaviour 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 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. Male, Derry, 55 “ … it’s not just going and filling your trolley up regardless of price.” Female, Belfast, 35-55,

7 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 money” ‘cause you don’t know what’s coming.” Female, Derry, “And don’t take out any of the loans because the interest these days is mad. They’re always saying “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

8 Where do we do our consuming?

9 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).

10 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

11 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 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.

12 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.

13 Sustainability matters “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 …” Male, Derry, 18-34, C2

14 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

15 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 for everybody.” Male, Belfast, 35-54, DE “You’re better with the devil you know than the one you don’t know.” Male, Enniskillen, 55+, BC1

16 What we think about banks (edited!) “I’m with the Bank of Ireland because I started an account in primary school…” Female, Belfast, 18-34, BC1 “…that’s the problem, you stick with one [bank] that the family stick with.” Male, Belfast, 18-34, BC1 “I really think it’s extraordinary the charges for being overdrawn… I was £2 over and got charged £35…” Female, Enniskillen, 34-54

17 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.

18 The online shopper By age: Internet shopping peaks among year olds (65 per cent). Half of year olds shop online (52 per cent). Less year olds shop online (37 per cent). Only 14 per cent of over 65’s shop online.

19 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.

20 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

21 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.

22 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.

23 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.

24 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).

25 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 year olds feel well informed about their online shopping rights compared to only 11 per cent of over 65s.

26 Further information Available to download from: Ipsos MORI ‘Consumer 2010’ research report – full report Consumer 2010 – executive summary Consumer Manifesto

27 How the Consumer Council stays in-touch Consumer panels Focus groups Consumer support team Presentations/exhibitions Omnibus surveys


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