- Data shows that voice phone calls are down for the first time in history
- New survey reveals we find talking on the phone embarassing, stress about having to think on the spot and hate interrupting other
A new report from Ofcom (published today) reveals that the total number of voice calls have fallen for the first time, yet with Brits checking their phones an average of once every 12 minutes it seems we’re more reliant on our mobiles than ever. So what has caused the fall in voice calls?
Well, new figures from a survey of 1,000* people by mobile phone insurance provider Better Buy Insurance suggest that people are losing confidence in their ability to hold a phone conversation. Nearly half of people (44%) said they find phone calls stressful as they have to think about what they say on the spot and one in four (26%) say they feel embarrassed speaking on the phone in front of people.
The figures suggest a cultural shift, with the majority of people (60%) saying they prefer to be contacted by text as they can do other things in between. This shift is also impacting on how people contact others, as four in 10 (42%) say they prefer not call other people too as they worry about interrupting their day.
Interestingly, the research showed that who we’re contacting can also have a big impact on the method used to get in touch. Parents and relatives are the groups where we particularly favour voice calls – which could be down to the closeness of family or simply a generational thing – while we’re more likely to use text to communicate with friends and colleagues. Partners are pretty much an even split between voice calls and text.
So what does the future hold? Well, the figures suggest that the fall in voice calls is only going to continue, as 52% of people say they expect to speak less on the phone in 10 years time than they do now. Though with Ofcom’s figures showing just how frequently we engage with our phones, it doesn’t appear that the smartphone will be going anywhere for a good while yet.
Gary Beeston, Sales and Marketing Director from Better Buy Insurance, who conducted the research into why we’re making fewer voice calls, said: “Certainly the way we communicate has dramatically changed over recent years and it’s fascinating to see that voice calls are now starting to fall for the first time.
“Our research shows that the lack of practice when it comes to voice calls is already having an impact as Brits seem to be losing their phone call confidence, finding it stressful and embarrassing. That’s a real shame as, regardless of all the amazing technological advances we have seen, speaking to someone over the phone allows us to catch up on a deeper level. I think a lot of people still feel that and so I imagine we’ll still be enjoying voice calls for some time yet.”
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