Cold Call Britain: The number of Brits irritated by nuisance calls

What Mobile
March 21, 2019

The most common type of cold call across the UK are those of a ‘Sales & Marketing’ nature, with 39%.

The most commonly targeted demographic of ‘Sales & Marketing calls’ is 65-74-year-olds at 47%.

Predictably over 70% of UK adults ‘Hang up immediately’ after realising it is an unsolicited phone call (74%).

The most prevalent type of cold call received among Brits is ‘Telling you about a product or service’ at 56%.

There’s a lot to be argued about in this world, but one thing’s for sure – we are all outraged by cold calls. On a daily basis Brits will experience incessant calls from withheld numbers, ones we simply do not recognise, and the persistent caller on the other end of the phone who simply will not take no for an answer.

According to recent reports from The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), more than 104,000 complaints were made about nuisance calls and messages between January and September 2018. With Ofcom estimating more than 3.9 billion cold calls and texts were made in Britain alone in 2018.

As a result, analysed a customer experience survey conducted by Ofcom* to better understand the extent of the cold call problem and how consumers react.

The survey revealed that despite technological advances only 69% of UK adults use a smartphone, which unsurprisingly is highest among 25-34 year olds (89%). More interestingly, 16% of those surveyed own a mobile phone without smart features. With only a mere 5% not owning any sort of telecommunications device, it is clear to see how nuisance calls have become such an epidemic across the UK.

Recyclezone can reveal that the most common type of unsolicited calls are ‘Sales & Marketing calls’ with 39% of UK adults having experienced a cold call of this nature. The highest demographic of which was 65-74-year olds with 47%.

Coming in second is ‘Recorded message’ with 24% received in the past month, of which 25-34 year olds seemingly being targeted the most (29%). Thereafter, ‘Silent calls’ (22%) were the next highest calls received, of which the highest level was among 75+ (32%). Finally, ‘Sales & Marketing texts’ (19%), with the highest targeted demographic being 25-34-year olds (27%).

Predictably, a staggering 74% of those receiving a recorded message ‘Hang up immediately’. Whilst 23% of UK adults admit to ‘Listening to some of the messages before hanging up’ and a further 3% claiming to ‘Listen to the full message’.

Recyclezone can also reveal that the most common intent behind an unsolicited call isTelling you about a product or service’ with over half of UK adults having received a call of this nature (56%). With those aged between 55-64 receiving more product or serviced based cold calls than any other demographics, at 70%.

Following thereafter are calls related to ‘Telling you a company has tried to call you’ at 32%, with just shy of half of all 16-24-year olds receiving a message of this description (48%). Thereafter, 23% of UK adults have taken a message with the intention of ‘Reminding you of an appointment’, most common among those aged 55-64 (47%).

Finally, ‘Telling you about a competition’ accounts for 18% of all cold calls received last year. Interestingly, this type of cold call was greatest among 45-54-year olds with 43%.

*This survey was updated on the 28th September 2018, surveying UK adults of all demographics and social classes. The following questions were analysed: Q.1, Q.6A6B, Q.7Ai7Bi, Q.7Aii7Bii, of which the number of respondents vary per question.

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