18 January 2007

New survey report uncovers patterns in consumer behaviour

A brand new report from BACS Payment Schemes Limited (BACS), the not-for-profit industry body behind Direct Debit and BACS Direct Credit, has today revealed a fascinating snapshot of life in Great Britain.

Officially launched this week at an event in Central London, the BACS Consumer Payments Survey (CPS) report provides a unique insight into the habits of British adults.

Areas covered in the first edition of the report include information on home ownership; patterns in online purchasing and media consumption, including radio, TV and newspapers; and an update on how the nation’s switch to digital television is progressing. The report also looks at changing attitudes to money among British adults, including shifts in the usage of payment methods which have resulted in almost three quarters (73%) of GB adults being positively disposed to automated payments like Direct Debit.

Key CPS findings include:

. The average household income is on the increase, but the gap between the North and South is widening. British workers can expect to bring in an average household income of £24,350 – up by £4,000 on 2001. However, GB adults are far more likely to have a higher total income if they live in the South East and the most prevalent payment route for consumers is straight into their bank account by BACS Direct Credit – 87% of adults questioned receive payments this way.
. Many GB adults have a cavalier attitude when it comes to money – almost a quarter (23%) of people surveyed agreed that they don’t fuss about money as ‘things tend to work out in the end’.
. One in five British adults admits they are disorganised when it comes to making bill payments; 25-34 year olds struggle the most. However, almost half of British adults agree that they prefer to spread payments using products like Direct Debit rather than being hit with one big bill - women are more inclined to pay in installments than men; 52% of women versus 44% of men.
. One in four Britons agreed they would probably borrow money to buy something rather than save up. Men are more likely to do this with 25% of men compared to 21% of women.
. The switch to digital television seems to be going smoothly in Great Britain with 73% of households now claiming they have a digital service at home.
. Almost a quarter of GB adults don’t have any access to the internet and 21% don’t even have a working PC.
. Five years ago, more than a fifth of adults relied solely on joint bank accounts; today that figure has dropped 29% to 15%.
. A third of GB adults still spend between two and six hours each week reading newspapers and 18% said they did so for more than seven hours. 44% spend an hour each week reading magazines, a third of which read glossies for between two and six hours.

Commenting on the launch, Michael Chambers, managing director of BACS said, “Each year BACS processes over 5.4 billion financial transactions. This volume of activity, combined with work we do on our Consumer Payments Survey puts us in a totally unique position when it comes to knowing about life in the UK.

We have been carrying out the Consumer Payments Survey since 1988 and in that time, have built up an extraordinary amount of information about the habits of the British population. Although BACS has been using this information for years, our launch this week is the first time we have made such a wide selection of results public. We feel the report will prove interesting for a wide range of purposes and look forward to sharing further results soon.”

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