want to make extra money

What would a “cashless” society be like?

Money.* From its earliest form circa 9000BC – i.e. cows and wheat – all the way through to the modern-day bitcoin, money and monetary transactions have taken on a variety of different forms throughout the ages (here’s a really cool infographic for the history buffs in the crowd!). It appears that now, however, it might just be taking one of it’s most society-altering turns yet – by becoming entirely cashless! 

What do we mean by a “cashless” society?

Quite simply, a cashless society is one where we no longer make purchases using tangible coins and notes. Instead, all transactions are carried out electronically, from the more traditional bank transfer through to debit and credit card transactions (including chip and pin and contactless), apps such as ApplePay, and so on.

Is the UK a cashless society?

Almost! In fact, we’re currently the third most cashless society in the world, following Canada in second place, and Sweden, who are currently topping the leaderboard. 

And it’s not been a slow process; just a decade ago, 63% transactions in the UK were made with cash, but today, we only use cash for 34%  transactions. So probably won’t come as a surprise to hear that the UK is predicted to no longer be using coins and banknotes within the next 15 years.

So if we were to fast forward to our anticipated cashless society of 2034-ish, what could we expect to find?

cashless1 1024x683 - What would a “cashless” society be like?

The good stuff

Less chance of theft

With people no longer carrying cash around with them and shop/restaurant tills/safes and banks no longer containing physical cash, the chances of physical robberies taking place will be significantly lower. Of course, you could argue that people will still be carrying their debit and credit cards around, but with banks now having websites and apps close to hand, cards can be cancelled in mere seconds. 

Reduction in cash-based criminal activity

Most criminal transactions – such as the buying and selling of illegal drugs – are completed using cash, as this means there’s no electronic trail that can be traced back. So with physical cash-in-hand opportunities unavailable and the increased monitoring of online transactional activity, these kinds of crimes are less likely to take place in the future as they’ll be significantly more difficult to carry out undetected.

More time-efficient processes

Handling paper money, as well as storing and depositing it, is a lot more time consuming than many people realise. As with many of the other increasingly digital processes going on in the world, handling money electronically is a significant time-saver. For example, cashless transactions in shops will eventually mean we have less queues to deal with, as shoppers won’t have to spend time counting out cash and coins to make their purchases. 

Easier to monitor your income and spending 

With the multitude of banking apps now available – and most of them incorporating budgeting tools – it’s already easier than ever to monitor your incomings and outgoings. And the more cashless we become as a society, the easier this will be (though of course it’s worth bearing in mind that it might end up being too easy to just keep spending when we’re not seeing cash physically leave our hands)!

Physical health

As strange as this may sound, living in a cashless society may make us physically healthier, too! Think about it; how many different pairs of hands will your cash and coins have been held in before they reached yours? Probably thousands! One study found that there can be as many as 19 different kinds of bacteria living on cash, among other nasties. So with no cash being passed around, it’s likely that our cashless society of the future is likely to be a healthier one as well!

Savings 1024x683 - What would a “cashless” society be like?

The potential downsides…

Lack of privacy

Although the monitoring of electronic transactions is helpful for avoiding criminal activity, it’s not so great when you think that your payment information could turn up in unpredictable ways. Just a couple of years ago, Google planned to track billions of credit and debit card sales to compare online ad clicks with money spent offline!  It also puts us at greater risk of identity theft and information loss. Being able to use physical cash grants you much greater anonymity, so this opportunity will be lost in a cashless society.

Beware the hackers

Remember when we were talking about physical robberies earlier? Although this may not be such a problem anymore in our cashless society of the future, one smart hacker gaining access to your online bank account could leave you entirely penniless in mere seconds. And with no physical cash to hand to use as back-up, this could leave you in a debilitating situation. 

Loss of control

A lot of people currently use cash as a means of having control over their finances, and some receive it as payment for odd jobs when they want to make extra money. A cashless society would mean relinquishing that control to technology – which, for those unfamiliar with technology, would be potentially distressing. These people may also find themselves at greater risk of financial abuse, for example if  family members take control of their accounts.

Technical problems

Picture the scenario: You want to make extra money by taking part in a market research study, and when it comes to getting paid, the researcher’s banking app fails on them. Frustrating or what? Despite technology making new advancements by the day, there are always going to be times when it fails us. It hasn’t happened to us yet – fingers crossed! But power cuts, slow load speeds and timeouts, and other technical failures can leave us temporarily penniless or unable to complete transactions, which could lead to all sorts of problems.

andrej lisakov 518217 unsplash 1024x684 - What would a “cashless” society be like?

Will we be ready?

Despite the many advantages of living in a cashless society, it looks like we probably won’t be ready for it in fifteen years’ time. According to one report, nearly half of Britain – that is, 25 million people – would struggle without access to cash, and for some, they feel it would be impossible to function. 

In which case, it might be a good idea for us to look to Sweden for guidance. The apparent model for a modern cashless society, it’s not uncommon to see signs that say “No cash accepted” in Swedish shops, with some banks no longer handle cash at all and cash payments making up only 15% of their retail sales. What’s more, 59% of consumer transactions are completed through non-cash methods, and 47% of Swedish citizens are aware of the types of mobile payment services available to them.

Conclusion:

However money turns out in the future, we’re glad to say that there will always be opportunities for you to get involved in our market research projects if you want to make extra money! If you’d like to take part, simply visit the current projects page on our website and get in touch!

*Money money money… must be funny… come on, you were thinking it, too!

Sign Up Here.

get paid to shop

What is “fast fashion”?

And should we be paying more attention to it?

Of all the industries in the world, fashion has probably seen the biggest evolution over time. What started as a means of bodily protection from the elements and predators in prehistoric times gradually became a symbol of status and cultural identity throughout the ages, until its most recent development in the 1960s as a means of self-expression. As a result, fashion and trends are changing constantly, with current ones being snapped up like hotcakes before being almost instantly replaced by new ones. The rise of the internet has boosted this even further, due to its introduction to online shopping, increased exposure to new fashion trends online, and the opportunity for brands to research and replicate/reproduce popular looks and new technology allowing for faster, cheaper production. Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the era of fast fashion – and with our own retail market research interests here, we couldn’t resist the opportunity to dig into it a bit further!

So, what is fast fashion?

Fast fashion is described by Google’s dictionary as “inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends.” Essentially, it’s cheap, trendy clothing that jumps straight off the catwalk and into the shops – and very quickly out again to make way for the next ones. In fact, a lot of fashion retailers introduce new products multiple times a week just to stay on trend and keep up with the demand.

And why should we be paying attention to it?

For online fashion influencers, trend enthusiasts and shopaholics, this mass availability of cheap but fashionable clothing is a dream come true! But as it turns out, it’s also having a devastating effect on the world around us…

The impact of fast fashion on:

People:

The rise of fast fashion has seen an increase in sweatshops. These are factories and workshops where manual workers are employed at very low wages for long hours and under poor conditions in order to produce fast fashion. They are primarily used due to keep up with the demands of fast fashion, as well as the added benefit of making additional profit through paying such minimal wages to workers. Sweatshops tend to be found in the poorer parts of countries across the globe, including Bangladesh and China.  As well as supplying these poor working conditions, some clothing companies have also faced allegations of physical and sexual abuse against their garment workers, particularly women.    

sweatshop 1024x683 - What is “fast fashion”?


Unfortunately, sweatshop work is not just limited to adults. According to the International Labour Organisation, 170 million children below the minimum age limit around the world are making textiles and garments in detrimental conditions to satisfy the demand in Europe, the US, and beyond.

The planet:

The environment is also suffering at the hands of fast fashion. The multitude of highly toxic dyes used to colour clothing – over 800, in fact – alongside the production of different fabrics are polluting the world’s water supplies. Cotton production, for example, involves the heavy use of pesticides, and the microfibres from synthetic clothing are also commonly found in water supplies; the lower the fabric quality, the more microfibres that shed during washing. What’s more, alongside polluting water, fabric production consumes billions of cubic meters of it per year; approximately 80 billion in 2017, and a predicted 120 billion by 2030. When you think that the amount of water it takes to produce one cotton shirt could provide drinking water for one person for a whopping two and a half years, that’s pretty horrifying!

earthclothes 1024x680 - What is “fast fashion”?

Subsequently, animals and wildlife are also affected; and not just the animals that drink the water, but the marine life that lives in it. Not great for us humans either as fish eaters! Animal products such as leather, wool, fur and skin are also used in clothing production, and often these animals are subjected to poor conditions and mistreatment for these products to be created.

Because fast fashion-produced clothes are made so cheaply, they tend to be of poor quality. Consequently, they’re often unwearable after just a few uses, and disposed in landfills. In 2018, the UK based charity WRAP (The Waste and Resources Action Programme) estimated that £140 million worth of clothing goes to landfills each year. Not only that, but the nature of fast fashion means that retailers need to dispose of their “old” produce quickly to make way for new stock, much of which has been rumoured to be disposed of in environmentally damaging ways, such as incineration.

What can we do instead?

So, with all the evidence pointing to the detrimental impact of fast fashion, what can we be – and should we be – doing to reduce it?

Thankfully, there are a number of good habits we can get into:

1) Enjoy the clothes you already own!

As a lot of our own retail market research has found, there appears to be a trend of consumers worrying about being seen in the same outfit twice (another consequence of the fast fashion industry)! There are some great initiatives out there that encourage people to think more carefully about the clothes they buy, such as Livia Firth’s “Will I wear this a minimum of 30 times?” campaign. Also, in our increasingly environmentally aware society, surely, it’s way cooler to wear the same outfit more than once and tell people it’s to save the planet than to wear a different outfit every day!

fastfashion1 1024x683 - What is “fast fashion”?

2) Clothes swaps and charity shops

If you’ve tried your best to love what you already own and simply can’t, clothes swaps and charity shops are your next port of call! Charity shops will take most items in good condition, and clothes swaps, such as the ones hosted by LUSH, mean you not only pass on the clothes you no longer want, but may find a gem unwanted by someone else!

3) When your clothes really are past their best, consider how you could possibly reuse them.

Old (cleaned!) underwear is considered one of the best dust cloth alternatives, and you should always save an old t-shirt or two and pair of jeans for decorating/messy work. Upcycling is also a fantastic alternative to throwing away – old pair of jeans? Get creative and turn them into a pair of shorts or a bag! The British Heart Foundation hold an exciting and fun competition called The Big Stitch to encourage upcycling of old garments and textiles every summer – but it’s something fun, creative and environmentally friendly to do all year around!

4) Recycle

If there really is nothing you can do with your old clothes, however, it’s time to get recycling! www.recyclenow.com has a great local recycling tool online so you can find your nearest textile recycling bank – a great way to avoid your clothes going to landfill!

5) If you really must buy…

Take a look around your local charity shops – it’s amazing what you can spot on the rails! And if you can’t find what you’re looking for, do a quick online check to see which brands are free of fast fashion – such as the ones in this list put together by Conscious Life & Style, plus these well-known high street brands

Fast fashion is just one of the issues consumers are raising with their favourite brands. The team here at Angelfish are just as hot on the topic too – we’re currently totally engrossed in the BBC series “Breaking Fashion,” and we’d definitely recommend you watch it, too! If you’d like your voice to be heard by the brands you love, and get paid for it, why not take a look at our latest retail market research opportunities that you can get involved in? If one of them takes your fancy, just register with us here – we’d love to hear from you!

Sign Up Here.