The recession has affected everyone in the UK, with millions finding themselves unemployed and those in work faced with wage freezes and longer hours as workloads are shared among an ever-decreasing pool of people.
Perhaps one of the hardest hit age groups is young adults, with one in six (17 per cent) people aged between 16 and 24 in England currently not in education, employment or training (NEETs), according to government statistics. The figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that 1,027,000 16-24 year olds in England were deemed to be so-called NEETs in the third quarter in 2012, a rise of one per cent from the previous quarter. It is a trend which is not just limited to England, with the United Nations’ International Labour Organization (ILO) estimating that nearly 75 million 15 to 24-year-olds around the world are out of work.
With so many young people out of work, it is not surprising that they are among the people most likely to get into debt. The Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS) has revealed that it deals with calls from nearly ten times as many young people as it did three years ago, with many deeming payday loans to be the main reason for the rise. These loans are often used by people to make ends meet before they are due to be paid next, with many falling into the trap of getting one payday loan out to cover the costs of another.
Overall, 7,861 under-40s contacted the CCCS in the first six months of the year about paying back payday loans, up from 1,626 in the whole of 2009.
CCCS spokeswoman Una Farrell said: “Payday loans seem to be disproportionately affecting the young. It’s alarming that they are lumbering themselves with expensive credit at a time when many will want to buy homes and start families.”
As well as debt repayments, another major expenditure for young people is technology, with youngsters among the biggest users of mobile phones. Figures from Ofcom show that 98 per cent of 16-24 year-olds owned a mobile phone in 2011, with 71 per cent using a smartphone. It means that this age group is likely to be among the most receptive to text message communication and be likely to be interested in debt management advice.
Txtlocal’s managing director Darren Daws claimed that SMS is an ideal channel to communicate with young adults as they are the first generation to grow up with mobile phones.
He said: “Overall, it makes sense to target the 16 to 24 sector by text, this group have grown up in the new media digital age, they are also the biggest users of SMS and MMS. The mobile is a way of life for this audience.”
A number of UK companies have had success targeting young people through text, the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester. The theatre sent tailored text messages to target students with special offer promotions for events.
Marketing manager Vicky Bloor said: “Mobile marketing is a great way to target the student and youth market with special offers and promotions. We have had great results from using text marketing, with many recipients making a box office booking directly after receiving one of our promotional text.”
Debt management companies could take note of the theatre’s success and look to contact young adults in their area through SMS to build their marketing database.
Dynmark has been working with various financial services companies for over a decade, providing tailored integration solutions as well as best practice and campaign management advice. Our experience means that we know how to make the most of SMS for the financial services sector and understand how to support your business. Read more about Dynmark’s financial experience here.