All about the numbers

Three stories from Statland for your consideration
Image: StockFresh

14 November 2018

Niall Kitson portraitThree statistics-based stories came across my desk this that warrant a passing mention. First, here some notable dates for your shopping calendar: Black Friday is 23 November, Cyber Monday is 26 November, 8 December is still the day Dubliners whinge about for reasons unknown, and the threat of identity theft is any day you make the mistake of passing along your bank details to a bad actor.

I raise this to mark the arrival of Santa in shop windows across the country and the release of Ulster Bank’s 2018 fraud survey gauging the public’s awareness of scams on- and off-line.

The report, based on a sample of 1,023 adults, found a number of concerning trends. Some 14% of respondents claimed to have been a victim of identity theft, up from 8% the previous year, with women aged 35-44 the most vulnerable at 17%; less than half of respondents (42%) said they were unable to keep track of their password; and just over a third (35%) claimed to have just three.

My favourite stat, however, comes from the ‘everyone thinks they are an above-average driver’ department: two-thirds (65%) of respondents said they would be able to detect a potential scam – an improvement of 11% over 2017. Yet a mere 62% said they had current anti-virus software on their devices.

So two thirds of shoppers claim to be able to spot a scam, slightly less say they have the software to deal with it and most don’t have the nous to effectively manage their passwords. The word ‘hubris’ comes to mind.

Eir gets results
In other news, everything seems to be going to plan for eir according to its  first quarter results released this week. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation & amortisation rose 11% year-on-year to €138 million and operating costs declined 12% to €108 million; and cash on balance rose to €170 million.

The telco also reported 228,000 premises passed as part of a fibre-to-the-home rollout in rural areas, 925,000 broadband subscribers and more than 1 million mobile customers.

From this armchair pundit’s perspective, eir’s TV offering is proving a slow burn. While eir Sport boasts 270,000 users across all platforms, the eir Vision TV and broadband service has attracted only 78,000 customers. As is the case with TV platforms, content will out. I’m interested to see what eir will show us beyond Pro 14 coverage and Sky channels. Please, show us something new.

Facebook even less cool than thought
A third and final story from Statland comes from a survey conducted by learning platform developer TerminalFour. According to its annual Global Higher Education Digital Marketing & Web Survey Facebook is becoming the Mr Burns of social networks – greedy to a fault and indifferent to his societal responsibility. The study of 432 higher education professionals in 383 universities and higher education institutions found that when it came to engaging with students online Facebook’s position as the platform of choice for millennials is on the wane

While 62% said Facebook was the top platform for engagement in 2017, that figure slid to 45% this year. Instagram, however, rose from 20% to 36%, making it the fastest growing social media platform for student recruitment. From there the numbers get less impressive with YouTube (8.2%), Twitter (7.1%), LinkedIn (4.5%) and Snapchat (3.7%) barely registering with marketers. One interesting ommission? YouTube aside no other Google properties got a mention. My bet is that closed social networks such as WhatsApp and Snapchat will assert themselves over the coming year. So while Facebook’s brand fades, its acquisitions are doing just fine with younger people. Lol.

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