News & Views

Contagious Research / Our Findings

by Contagious Team


Here are our main findings of the research we'd conducted ahead of Now / Next / Why

In the lead up to our annual Now / Next / Why trends briefing, Contagious commissioned independent research to gauge whether or not we are aligned with real-world expectations on how technology is changing our everyday behaviour and beliefs.

We showcased a few of our findings on stage at our London (18 April) and New York events (1 May), and a full write-up of the findings is presented below. 

Too long; didn't read?  A few snack-size stats below... come back and digest the full report later. 
 
We're open to a future where we use money issued by brands rather than the government. 19% of people in the UK and 27% of those in the US say they would be happy to use privately-issued currency. 

Mobile airtime is already established as a de facto currency in parts of Africa, and it looks like there might be an appetite for it in the UK and US. 36% of 25-34 year olds in the US say they would find it more useful to receive change from stores in the form of prepaid minutes rather than the equivalent in notes and coins. 

Technology is making us ruder. 71% of 18-24 year olds use their phone or tablet whilst talking to people.

Coding has come to be seen as an essential skill. 83% of people in the UK and 80% of those in the US think computer skills like coding should be a part of the school curriculum. 23% in the UK and 18% in the US think it should be compulsory.


Key Findings 

/ New Currencies 

Our research found that there is a growing acceptance towards the idea of brands issuing their own currencies, and the idea of sovereign currency is losing relevance amongst a younger generation. The demographic most open to using a branded currency are 24-35 year old males in the US. 

Over a quarter of people in the US would be happy to use a currency issued by a brand
The US is more open to privately-issued currencies than the UK. 19% of people in the UK and 27% of those in the US say they would be happy to use a currency issued by a brand or a private entity. 

Men are more open to the idea of branded currencies than women 
In the UK 23% of males agree they would be happy to use a currency issued privately, compared to 15% of females. In the US, 30% of males agree, compared to 25% of females. 

Almost half of 23-35s in the US would be happy to use a branded currency
25-34 year olds are the age group most open to the idea of branded currencies. In the UK 26% of them happy to use such a currency, while in the US that figure is 45%. Only 11% of UK 65+ are open to the idea, a figure that drops to 10% in the US. 

1 in 5 people in the US would be happy with the dollar being replaced by a branded currency 
15% of people in the UK and 21% in the US would be comfortable with traditional sovereign currencies being abandoned in favour of independent currencies. 

Men are more open to the idea of getting rid of sovereign currencies than women. In the UK 18% of males agree, 13% females; in the US 25% of males agree, 17% of  females. 

25-34 year olds are once again the age group most open to a new definition of money. 36% of 25-34 year olds in the US agree that they would be comfortable if sovereign currencies were replaced altogether; in the UK that figure is 22%. 

(Air)time really is money: 36% of US 25-34 year olds would prefer to receive change in the form of prepay minutes rather than cash
13% of people in the UK and 24% in the US say they would find it more useful to receive change in the form of mobile credit rather than the equivalent value in dollars and coins.

36% of 25-34 year olds in the US say they would find it more useful. In the UK 24% of 25-34 year olds say they'd find it more useful.

As prepaid subscriptions in the US soar it's likely that the idea of mobile minutes as cash will become even more relevant.  According to a report from analyst Chetan Sharma total US prepaid subscriptions exceeded 100 million as of June 2012, growing by 12% over the previous year, while traditional wireless telephone services with monthly bills remained flat. About 1 in 3 US cellphone owners now opt to pay as they go.





Over a quarter of people in the UK expect to use physical cash less in the next 2-3 years
Over a quarter (27%) of people in the UK expect to use physical cash less over the next 2 to 3 years, over 5 times as many as the 5% who think they will use it more. 34% of 18-24s think they will use it less.

In the US 20% think they will use it less, compared to 9% who think more.

People with lower incomes are more likely to use cash than other methods of payment 
In both the UK and US there is a difference in perceptions in future cash use when cut by income, but this is far greater in the UK where twice as many people who earn more than £47K believe they will be using cash less than those who earn under 27K. On average 42% of people who earn more than £47K believe they will be using less cash in the next 2-3 years, compared to 22% of people earning under £27K
 

/ Online Shopping Habits  

Almost half of people in the UK and US think online transaction charges are fair  
49% of people in the UK and 45% of people in the US (45%) think online transaction charges are fair. Only 25% of people in the UK think they are too expensive, and 20% of people actually consider them good value for money. 

In the US people are even more satisfied with the status quo, with 14% of people considering the charges too expensive, compared to 28% who say they are good value.

Dissatisfaction with online transaction fees most evident in 18-24 year olds in the UK
In the UK 34% of 18-24s and 31% of 25-34s say online transaction fees are expensive compared to 17% and 16% (respectively) who say they are good value.

Only 18% of people 65+ believe online transaction fees are too expensive compared to 34% of UK 18-24s, representing an 88% increase between the two demographics. 

A majority of people believe they should be able to make purchases anonymously 
48% of people in the UK and 52% of those in the US agree with this statement. 33% and 32% disagree respectively (the rest don't know).

'One-click' purchasing is the new normal 
88% in the UK and 85% in the US say that they want to be able to make these purchases immediately.


/ Growth of the peer-to-peer economy 

The peer-to-peer economy has become ingrained in the marketplace
22% of people in the UK have used a peer-to-peer service (i.e. a goods exchange site like FreeCycle or a peer-to-peer rental service like Air BnB or WhipCar) already. 

Once you combine these with those who would consider them you have 84% of people in the UK who have either already used one of these services or would consider doing so in future. This leaves 16% who have not and would not.

17% in the US have used one of these services and 76% have either used one already or would consider using them in future. 24% have not and would not.


/ Our relationship with technology  

71% of 18-24 year olds use their phone or tablet whilst talking to people
36% of people in the UK and 41% in the US say they use their phone or tablet while talking to people.
This varies hugely with age, as the graph (see above) shows
 
Simplicity is key when it comes to new technology
80% of people in the UK and 82% of those in the US say that 'ease of use' is an essential feature of a good technology product. 63% in both countries say the same about 'simplicity'.

Technology companies still aren't making products simple enough 
Over half (54%) of people in the UK and over 4 in 10 (43%) in the USA experience difficulties using modern interface software. 


/ Coding Generation 

Almost 1/3 of 18-34 year olds in the US have coded 
16% of people in the UK and 20% in the US have coded. 38% of people in the UK and 43% in the US have either coded already or would like to learn how.

The young are more prolific coders- in the UK 25% of 18-24s and 29% of 25-34s have done so, in the US the figure is 32% for both age groups.

Coding is still something of a boys club 
In the UK 21% of men have coded and 46% have done so or are interested in doing so. For women the figures are 12% and 31%. In the US 26% of men have coded and 50% have done so or would like to, compared to 13% and 35% for women.

Most people now believe that coding is an essential part of the school curriculum 
83% of people in the UK and 80% of those in the US think computer skills like coding should be a part of the school curriculum. 23% in the UK and 18% in the US think it should be compulsory.

62% of people in the UK say that coding would be more useful for children leaving school than at least one of the subjects they currently study. Nearly 3 in 10 (28%) think coding would be more useful for children to have studied before leaving school than art.

65% of people in the US say coding would be more useful for children leaving school than at least one of the subjects they currently study.

Note: Research was carried out via online surveys conducted by Opinium in April 2013. A nationally representative sample of 2000 people was surveyed in each of the US and UK.