Several interesting pieces of research were published this week.
With Thanksgiving last week, there were far fewer pieces of research published. This week’s research comes from Experian, MYOB, TechnologyOne and ToolTime, which published some research as it launched into the UK market.
Based on data from the National Hunter Fraud Prevention Service, Experian saw fraud rise by 22% during the year compared to 2022. It also expects fraud to peak during the November and December festive seasons. In 2022, credit card fraud rose 43% in November alone. With fraudsters becoming increasingly sophisticated in their attempt to convince people to give up personal details through emails, text messages and phone calls. Figures from UK Finance reveal fraud cost British consumers £580 million in the first six months of 2023.
Eduardo Castro, Managing Director of Identity and Fraud, Experian UK&I, said, “The cost of being scammed by a fraudster is not just financial, as victims experience substantial distress too. Identity theft and fraud are increasingly prevalent in the UK, and it’s never been more important for people to think twice about their personal information. All unsolicited messages should be approached cautiously unless they are sure it’s genuine, and if there is an offer online which seems too good to be true, it more than likely is.”
Experian has launched a social media awareness campaign (YouTube video) featuring a scammed Father Christmas talking to the police. Castro added, “Better public awareness of scams and new technology being deployed by businesses across multiple sectors means criminals are facing new challenges. However, fraudsters are always looking at new ways to exploit people’s information. The fraud epidemic is a constantly evolving battle, so there is no room for complacency when it comes to prevention.”
MYOB published its expectations of consumer spending in Australia, based on a survey of 1,000 Australian consumers.
The key findings included:
- 75% of Australians plan to shop during Black Friday this year, a 13% increase on 2022
- 55% will rely on the sales event to save money on Christmas shopping
- 52% are concerned about managing their Christmas budget this year
- 40% will use a credit card, and 35% will use savings
- Key factors for their purchase decisions will be price (68%) and quality (51%)
To afford presents, 67% are cutting back on non-essential expenses such as dining out and alcohol, and 50% are cutting back on groceries and energy use. Despite this, 27% are looking to buy presents through discount sites such as Wish or Temu. 48% said they are focused on buying from small businesses.
Emma Fawcett, MYOB’s General Manager – SME, said, “Between interest rates, groceries, bills, and general increase in costs, consumers are looking to make their dollar go further this Christmas with discount gift options. While these large discount events can present a challenge for the smaller businesses, the good news is consumers are still looking to support local and Australian retailers.
“Black Friday and the end of year festive season is vital for the revenue of many small businesses around the country. Consumers are feeling the pinch, but if retailers offer quality products and attractive deals, they will look to shop local and support Australian businesses.”
TechnologyOne has commissioned and published a report, ‘New Zealand Digital Citizens Continuing the Journey with Empathy’, from independent economics consultants IBRS. It found that the New Zealand citizens most in need are the least likely to engage with government support via digital channels.
Less than 38% of people with ‘precarious’ financial status, compared to 62% of financially comfortable citizens, are using local government services. The gap is narrower but still exists for central government services (67% vs 74%).
Dr Joseph Sweeney, IBRS Senior Advisor who led the research, said, “What these findings highlight is a clear distinction between people being able to access digital services and successfully engage government services on offer and those that can’t. New Zealand has worked hard to close the ‘digital divide’, but it has been replaced by ‘digital disadvantage’, and we must now address the root causes that go beyond connectivity.
“Rather than focusing on big innovations that require significant investment, it is better to focus on enriching existing services with empathic delivery design principles that educate and guide citizens through the service.”
John Mazenier, New Zealand’s Country Manager for TechnologyOne, added, “These findings reinforce the positive impact investment into the digitalisation of core systems has had on New Zealand’s government services. Software as a Service (SaaS) plays a crucial role in providing flexible services, enhancing operational resilience, and meeting citizens’ needs.
“However, the research identified that further improvement doesn’t require significant new investment in technology. In fact, once the right core is in place, the focus can turn to community needs. By adding empathy to existing digital services, agencies and councils can dramatically improve the uptake, engagement and, most importantly, equity of service delivery.”
Research from ToolTime revealed that the younger generation is calling on tradespeople twice as often as their parents. The findings are good news for tradespeople. With 51% of adults that have used tradespeople expect to call upon them again in 2024. 37% are planning home improvements in the new year.
Other key findings included:
- The average number of callouts in the last year was three. This fell to just two on average among those aged 55+ and peaked at over five in the 18-34-year-old bracket.
- More people who call out tradespeople value reliability over trustworthiness (75% v 73%), followed by professionalism (65%), experience (60%), and good reviews or recommendations (56%).
- The most frustrating thing about hiring tradespeople is when they do a poor job (64%), followed by bad timekeeping (56%), costs going up (45%), and a lack of respect for the home they are working in (44%).
- 41% stated that a lack of transparency in quotes and invoices frustrated them. 83% of those who hire tradespeople check the costs of resources when they have a quote, while 47% always check costs.
Marius Stäcker, ToolTime CEO and Co-Founder, said, “With increased service demand comes greater organisational and administrative challenges for small businesses and sole traders. Our own research has found that the 150,000 companies in the finishing trades across the UK still rely on pen and paper or basic computer software such as Word and Excel to run their businesses. Clearly there is an opportunity for increased digitisation to bring an end to paperwork chaos, enhance efficiency and customer service, and save time.”