When politicians and political strategists plan their campaigns they often try and categorise people. Once they have done this they need to name these categories and use them to describe the type of potential voter they are targeting.
The dangers of categorisation
Aside from their regular supporters and those who are traditionally diametrically opposed to their own views, it’s the potential middle ground swing voters that are where the fiercest battles are fought. These people change slightly with the times and the political climate, but in the end whether it’s “Mondeo Man” or “Worcester Women” the people that they are describing are Mr and Mrs Average. A term wholly unsuitable for sound bites, hence the plethora of different terms.
A similar phenomenon has occurred with marketers. With everyone so keen to pigeon hole people into groups, terms such as Gen X and Millennial’s are becoming more and more common place. Of course, it becomes a difficult fact to admit that sometimes all the labels and categories may not be necessary. Sometimes the target audience for a product really is much broader than all that.
Power of the shopper
When it comes to the recent rapid growth of prepaid cards not just in the UK but across Europe, how are Mr and Mrs Average driving this trend and where are they using these cards?
With the rise in internet shopping growing at over 11% per year and the total spent in 2014 in the UK set to rise from £45b to nearly £55b the problem and ultimately the concern amongst shoppers of internet fraud is a constant spectre. Prepaid cards can of course provide a level of security that adds a buffer to the customer’s personal and financial details, in Italy this kind of protection is the predominant driver in the rise of prepaid. In the UK we are spending an average of £1174 per person online per year, outstripping the rest of our European neighbours and even the USA, all in all this is something that is going to be on the increase for some time to come and as people get more concerned by the protection of their details online prepaid cards will continue to gain traction.
Cashback for all
Another reason prepaid cards have seen a rise in recent years is the advent of cashback products driven through the platform, retailers keen to capture new markets and drive loyalty have partnered up with employers to offer their staff exclusive discounts and offers managed through a cashback model.
Recent figures have shown that in a MySpree prepaid debit card programme the average spend per person is over £1500 a year. The primary driver for this is due to the cashback facility which is borne out in the fact that 74% of spend is within retail partners qualifying for cashback. Supermarkets take a large tranche of this spend but there is still a significant amount spread amongst the other retailers in home and leisure as well as restaurants and events. This demonstrates that Mr and Mrs Average are quite prepared to shop around for the best deal and enjoy the flexibility of using a prepaid card.
When it comes to budgeting there are significant advantages to using a prepaid debit card. With no credit facility and so no credit checks, the prepaid debit card is a great tool for managing the family budget and also for helping children and young adults to learn about taking care of their own finances. The University of Bournemouth has recently adopted a scheme where all bursaries are paid onto a prepaid card to allow students to keep track of their funds whilst earning cashback at retail partners, crucially without the temptation to get into further debt.
Mr and Mrs Average live in a time where money management and online security are issues which are front and centre to their daily lives. Whether it is for themselves or their children, the convenience and safety that prepaid cards provide is the major driving force when looking at expansion in the UK market. With predictions that the total prepaid market by 2020 will have reached over £17.5 billion in the UK alone it seems that Mr and Mrs Average are going to continue to grow this sector for some years to come.