It’s so easy to automate daily tasks and chores nowadays. Using the latest technology, we are able to create smart and connected devices that are taking the meaning of modern living to a new level. What was once a thing of sci-fi movies is slowly becoming a reality – from communicating with robots to automating everyday chores, there are many ways our homes are evolving into something quite different. But is this way of living really for you?
One way companies get to understand their customers’ thoughts and feelings about particular pieces of technology is by conducting market research. Usability testing, or user experience testing, is a popular method for brands to see how their products work first hand. Whether it’s a particular app or brand new technological device, companies need to know how to best market their products in-line with their customers’ wants and needs. To get involved in user experience research methods, including to get the opportunity to test the newest technology on the market, sign up to our research community – you will receive invites to take part in studies that interest you. Plus, you also get paid an incentive for your time.
What is a ‘smart home’?
Smart homes operate to the convenience of its residents. Want to turn your bedroom lights off from a different location? Adjust your thermostat without leaving the sofa? Check who’s at your door before you answer it? There are few limitations to what technology can do these days.
Using Bluetooth and wireless connections, smart home devices – such as the Amazon Echo – streamline everyday tasks that you can control, monitor and access remotely via smartphone or tablet.
Benefits of the smart home
Convenience – most people invest in smart devices for their homes as they want to save time doing basic tasks. Controlling things simply from a mobile device or tablet – from adjusting your thermometer topre-heating your oven – provides a convenient alternative! This technology helps to streamline your everyday tasks, meaning that you can focus your time on the things you’d rather be doing.
Environmental – Controlling your energy levels all in one place means you’re can easily save on electricity and gas within your home, improving your energy efficiency. Smart meters are so beneficial, in fact, that all energy suppliers must aim to install them in every home in England, Wales and Scotland by the end of 2020.
Accessibility – from a mobility perspective, a smart home provides effective and accessible solutions for elderly or disabled residents. For example, voice control eliminates the need for people to move around unnecessarily.
Security – You can put your mind at ease when you’re away from your house by implementing security devices such asdoorbell cameras. You’re also able to automate lightingwithin the house when you’re not at home, just by a click of a button on your phone.
Is a smart home for you?
43% of Brits now own at least one smart product in their home. Many people enjoy the convenience of smart home appliances, but the initial cost can be expensive. As well as this, you may have to set aside some time to learn how to use this new technology effectively to decide what will be most beneficial to you and the way you live. Not only this, but the initial set-up of some devices can be fairly complex.
Broadband is faster than ever before, meaning it’s becoming easier to connect an entire home. However, security breaches are a cause for concern. For example, your smart home devices could be at risk of hacking. Therefore, it is important that your smart devices are connected to a secure internet system.
Interested in testing out new technology? With Angelfish Opinions, you can get your thoughts and opinions heard by the brands you know and love by taking part in user experience research methods. Your valued feedback will influence the way a product is launched, branded, packaged, marketed or priced. So – a great way to make a real difference while earning some extra cash!
New and dynamic products are coming to the market all the time, like the ones mentioned earlier. Market research provides the opportunity for brands to really get to know their customers’ thoughts and feelings about these new products. Plus, consumers can get their voices heard, while getting paid to do so.
A trip of a lifetime awaits you in Europe – as one of the best adventures any aspiring traveller can experience, the European continent has such a lot to offer! So, don’t let Brexit put you off and get your backpack at the ready!
For many people, taking a gap year is the best way to fully immerse themselves in the traveller lifestyle. And why not? You’d return home with so many stories to tell, so many photographs to show off, so many memories to cherish.
The cost of travelling, however, is definitely something to think about. But with a bit of crafty spending, clever budgeting, and careful saving, you can make it work. Plus, with our paid market research studies, you can always make yourself a bit of extra cash to spend on your travels.
To help you decide where to go, we’ve picked our favourite cities for backpacking on a budget and reveal our top tips for saving that extra little bit of cash so that you can really make the most of your time away.
First up on our list is Barcelona – a must-see city for those who want to experience its cool architecture, great nightlife, and tasty food! People who’ve visited Barcelona rarely speak ill of this vibrant city, especially when visited on those warm summer days.
In a city that doesn’t sleep, it’s unlikely that you’ll want to, either! From 24-hour beach parties to open-all-hour bars, Barcelona is young at heart, despite being surrounded by numerous historic buildings and cathedrals.
Set aside enough time to soak up every corner of this amazing city – each neighbourhood is unique to the last, but the most popular areLas Ramblasand La Ribera. Don’t just visit these areas, though; make sure you visit as many as you can!
You’re going to want to get thrifty in this city; it’s known for its high prices! However, as long as you plan ahead, Barcelona doesn’t have to eat into your travel budget as much as you think it might.
The average daily budget will be around £45-£55. However, some only spend around £20-£25 if staying at a cheaper hostel! So, entirely affordable, depending on the time of year you visit.
Don’t forget, you can save money simply by walking over taking the bus (which is around 2.20 euros each way), attending free festivals and activities such as walking tours rather than opting for the paid ones (they’re often just as good, and you’ll get to see so many examples of Gaudi’s architecture all over the city!)
Quick top tips
Park Güellis a public park with gardens and architectonic elements. Designed by Gaudi, it’s amazing to see, and definitely worth a visit. However, stick to the free parts of the park if you want to save some money – especially when you have so much more on your list to see.
The Sagrada Familia is probably the most iconic landmark of Barcelona, with its phenomenal architecture and stunning design! But if you don’t have 26 euros to spare for an entrance ticket – no matter! The real spectacle is the outside of the building, so you can still say you’ve visited, just without the price tag!
There are some hidden gems in Berlin, and it really is one to put on your travel checklist! Although perhaps not the most aesthetically pleasing on the surface, the vibe of the city is definitely one to experience.
Berlin is among the best European cities to visit in summer, where you can get the very best weather – which of course comes hand-in-hand with a great atmosphere! The city makes a great stop-off if you’re interrailing across Europe, and there are a range of affordable hostels to stay at. The East Seven Hostel is highly recommended, as is Circus Hostel and St. Christopher’s Berlin(if you’re looking for a party!).
To stay on budget, it’s worth sticking to the cheaper bars and restaurants, which can be tricky when the city has so many expensive options. Alternatively, you could choose to stay in a hostel that has a kitchen where you’re able to cook your own meals!
Getting around Berlin is pretty easy using their rail links. However, to get somewhere quick and, conveniently, Uber is a great option. The price is locked, meaning that you can’t get ripped off, plus it’s often cheaper than travelling by taxi anyway.
Quick top tips
Some highlights of Berlin include:
Checkpoint Charlie – The setting of many thrillers and spy novels, Checkpoint Charlie is a reminder of the former border crossing, the Cold War and the partition of Berlin.
East Side Gallery – Previously the Berlin Wall, the East Side Gallery is now the longest open-air gallery in the world.
New Synagogue – One of Berlin’s most beautiful buildings and a memorial important to Jewish life.
Reichstag – As one of the city’s most significant historical buildings, Reichstag is the Parliament and mirror of German history.
We couldn’t write a post about the best European cities to visit in summer without giving Paris some of the limelight! This city is home to many great sights – from the iconic Eiffel Tower to the Arc de Triomphe, to theSacre-Coeur, there’s always something to do here. With such a great vibe running through the city, there are many beautiful areas to visit, not forgetting the abundance of museums and art galleries to peruse.
To really get the most out of this city, you may have to accept that it may cost you a little more than other locations. Because who doesn’t want to gorge on wine, cheese, and pastries? That said, it is possible to save money on things such as travel costs (they say you see more of a place on-foot!) and avoiding eating out every day.
The hostels in Paris do tend to cost more than other cities in Europe – coming in at around £20-£35 per night, but is entirely worth a visit, even if you only stay for a few nights.
Quick top tips
Stick to Sundays: museums and galleries are often open for the public for free on Sundays!
Buy your metro tickets in bulk, not one at a time: plan your trip carefully and ensure you save yourself money on travel costs.
Take a picnic to the Eiffel Tower: if you don’t want to pay to go to the top of the tower, just sit and admire!
With its idyllic canals winding through the city’s streets, every new turn in Amsterdam presents a new photo opportunity for Instagram! One of the best European cities to visit in summer, there’s plenty to see and do – from art galleries to canal boat trips, museums to their more ‘interesting’ exhibitions, there’s certainly plenty to do here.
If you’re planning to visit Amsterdam on your year abroad, we’d highly recommend purchasing the I Amsterdam city card – it gives you access to discounted (and sometimes free) attractions, restaurants, and public transport. Having an I Amsterdam card also means you can skip the hassle of buying tickets at the city’s major attractions (the queues can get really quite long, especially at the Anne Frank house and the Van Gogh museum!) Also included in the I Amsterdam card is a free canal cruise! This is well worth doing if you want to learn more about the history of the city.
You can buy different versions of the I Amsterdam card – from a 24-hour card to a 120-hour card, depending on how long your stay is.
Things to do
A’dam lookout: get panoramic views of the city at the top of the A’dam tower, while enjoying a cocktail or two! For the daredevils out there, the ‘Over the Edge’ swing is Europe’s highest swing, where you literally dangle over the edge of the sky deck! Make sure you book tickets online as you will save some extra pennies this way.
Anne Frank house: Discover the story of Anne Frank as you walk through the house she was hiding in during the war. Although emotional, this is definitely worth a visit.
Delft: Just a short train journey away from Amsterdam is Delft. Away from the hustle and bustle of the main city, this beautiful town is absolutely stunning and full of history! Wander down the streets, along the canals, and around the churches before sitting outside in the courtyard lit by twinkling fairy lights.
Aside from the I Amsterdam card, there are other ways you can save money when visiting this city.
As travel is so reasonable, we’d recommend staying outside of the city itself, where the hotels and hostels are often cheaper.
Take a packed lunch – instead of eating out for all meals, why not make your own? There are plenty of benches overlooking canals where you can sit and eat!
Bulk-buy your train tickets: Plan your trip wisely by pre-booking your train tickets
These are just a few of the many amazing cities you could visit on your year abroad. Of course, to really make the most of your travels, it’s going to be hugely beneficial to ensure you have enough spending money while you’re out there. So, in preparation, you could take part in one of our paid market research studies. From online focus groups to at-home interviews, user testing to accompanied shops, there are lots of different ways for you to get involved. Interested? Just click here to sign up.
You probably think of market research as just filling out online surveys or taking part in focus groups, but it is actually so much more varied than that! Accompanied shops are a popular qualitative market research method used by brands to gain valuable shopper insights. If you love shopping, it’s the dream; you can actually get paid to shop in your favourite high-street stores! Brands want to understand the shopping habits of their customers so that they can make decisions about the products they produce and the services they provide, ensuring that they put their consumers’ best interests first.
What does it involve?
During an accompanied shop, a researcher will join you on the shopping trip, taking in the way you shop and the decisions you make. They will watch out for how you walk around the store, what catches your eye, and when you make your purchase. But don’t worry, they won’t interfere or influence you in any way, perhaps just asking the occasional question while you browse. For example, they could ask what you think about the layout of the shop, what you think works and what doesn’t work.
Sometimes, you may not even be ‘physically’ accompanied during your shop – a digital assistant could be used. This advancement in technology has allowed for participants to log their customer journey through pictures, videos, texts and checklists. This way, participants may feel more relaxed and therefore act more naturally.
The whole research study can last between half an hour and two hours, depending on the brand’s criteria and the size of the store.
You won’t need to factor in too much travel time as the study will tend to take place in a convenient place for you. Although, of course, this will also depend on the location of the store, and who the brand is!
As a thank you for taking part in the accompanied shop, you will get paid for your time. The value of this incentive will vary depending on the length of the shop, but it will usually be between £40 and £150 paid in the form of cash, gift voucher, cheque, or bank transfer.
How you can get involved!
If you’d like to get paid to shop and influence the decisions of the brands you love, you can sign up to our research panel here. We’re always looking for people who want to get their views and opinions heard, wish to make a difference, and just want to have fun! Once you sign up, you will receive invitations via email to various projects – just choose the ones that suit you.
Last time we spoke, we answered some of the most important questions about Brexit: How did it come to be in the first place? Can we stay in the single market if we leave the European Union, what on earth parliament keeps voting on, and most importantly, whether Milky Way Magic Stars will still be available after D-Day on the 29th March. But what’s been going on since then? Well, quite a bit actually.
Since the catastrophic defeat of Theresa May’s Brexit deal which was rejected by a whopping 230 votes, she headed back to Brussels to try and negotiate changes to the Irish backstops and get a revised deal for the Commons to vote on. However, unfortunately, Brussels wouldn’t budge, and at the time of writing this, the prime minister had promised MPs an update by 26th February. So what’s next?
Well, last week MPs voted to block a no-deal Brexit after passing an amendment which rejects the UK leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement, but at this stage, pretty much anything is possible.
Whatever happens, deal or no deal, hard Brexit or calling the whole things off, one thing’s for sure: Brexit is going to have a pretty big impact on our everyday lives. Without further ado, here’s our review of what Brexit really means for the UK.
In either Brexit scenario, food prices are likely to go up. There’s a whole host of complicated reasons why, but basically they all come down to the fact that the UK will need to pay additional charges to import food (remember all that chat about import, export and the single market in the first blog? If not, refresh your memory here). And under a no-deal scenario, the UK would be treated as a “third country” by the EU – which means commerce would be governed by the World Trade Organisation rules.
Around 52% of the food we consume has its origins in the UK – which means 48% of the food we eat is imported. In the first half of 2018, we imported £23 billion worth of food. Of that, around 30% of our imports are from the EU, with key examples including Irish beef (£425 million), French wine (£321 million – we can probably take responsibility for about 50% of that), and Danish pork (£171 million). We even spend £12 million on Greek olives! Further afield, our bananas come from Costs Rica (£50 million) and our grapes are from South Africa (£115 million). So if there’s a hard Brexit, tariffs on imported food go up by around 22% – which would add a whopping £220 million onto our food costs
And where would that be reflected? Food prices, of course. Meat, vegetables and dairy products are set to have the largest price rises under a no-deal scenario – and the Bank of England has warned that if the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal, shopping bills could surge by 10%. Sure, that’s the most extreme no deal scenario, but even if the government was able to negotiate a no tariff deal which would limit extra tariff costs, additional border inspections and safety checks would still see food prices rise by at least 3.8%. The average food shop in the UK is around £89 a week – and under a hard Brexit, this would increase to around £108 – which means you would add nearly £1000 to the food bill every year. Gulp.
Next up (and a logical step from the issue of food), farming. Surprisingly, despite the majority of farmers voting for Brexit, farmers and food producers are among the most vulnerable businesses in a no-deal scenario. First, the supply of seasonal harvest workers, mainly from eastern Europe, will dry up unless new immigration rules are quickly brought in. And secondly, there’s the devastating impact on meat and food export. Not only will World Trade Organisation tariffs make our products less competitive on the continent, but EU rules mean a possible wait of up to six months before UK farmers are even certified as approved exporters.
There’s a pretty massive divide in opinion though (not at all surprisingly). Some are choosing to look on the bright side and argue that leaving the EU could actually give Britain a golden opportunity to secure ambitious free trade deals, all the while supporting our farmers and producers to grow and sell more great British food. However, others have a much gloomier outlook, with some going as far as to say that farming businesses could be completely wiped out after the Brexit transition. Gulp.
One of the pulls of the left campaign was that the UK would be completely free to set its own controls on immigration. However, it works both ways: if passport and customs checks are heightened, there could be long delays at borders, and flights to the EU could be grounded as the necessary confirmations to cover both ends of the journey might not be in place. Meanwhile, the fate of expats (1.3 million Britons in EU countries and 3.7 million Europeans in Britain), their rights to live and their rights to work would be unclear. Professionals working in the EU might find the qualifications are no longer recognised, which means they would be no longer able to practice.
So far, so scary. Surely things are looking better from the housing perspective though, right? Erm… no really. Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England (so it’s safe to say he probably knows his stuff) has warned that in light of a no deal Brexit, the economy would suffer and house prices could fall by as much as 30%. For first time buyers, that’s pretty good news (aside from the fact that banks will be willing to lend less). But for everyone else? Not so much.
Sellers putting their houses on the market are sitting there for longer, because buyers are waiting to see what happens. This has caused a decrease in transactions and is causing house prices to fall. Why does this matter? Well, the housing market is intrinsically linked to consumer spending. When house prices go up, people spend more. When prices go down, people panic that their mortgage is now more than the house is worth, and tighten their purse strings.
Let’s look at it this way: if the bank lent you £200,000 for your house, they want all their money back and don’t care that it’s now only worth £190,000. So what happens? You start being much more careful with your money. That Friday night takeaway becomes leftover pasta, which means that the Chinese down the road makes less money, and therefore pays less tax, and less tax means the government has less money. The government will then try to get more money by raising prices of goods – which is also known as inflation – and it’s all linked in one big downward spending spiral. S
But really, only a no deal Brexit scenario will impact the housing market in a big way. Sure, Brexit is currently causing uncertainty, but the property market has always been this way – and data shows that the changes to buy-to-let stamp duty in April 2016 had a bigger impact on the market than the Brexit vote. So, as long as there’s no no-deal, there’s probably no need to panic yet (phew!).
To sum up so far: So, to sum up so far: If the UK fails to agree on exit terms, we face the possibility of a hard Brexit, going outside of EU trading regulations and trading using international tariffs – which are expensive. In turn, goods imported to the UK are costing more, which goes for oil too. As a result, the value of the pound would go down, and fuel prices would increase by as much as 20% – and the shock to the economy could mean businesses withdraw from the UK and invest in safer places. However, a soft Brexit means fuel prices would remain the same, or possibly even drop slightly as confidence in the EU single market holds. Sure, there will be a level of uncertainty immediately post Brexit, which will manifest itself in petrol price fluctuations. However, having the freedom to make other deals with oil-rich countries could benefit the pound in the long term.
When asked about the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit, as politics professor Tim Bale puts it, “almost every conceivable outcomes seems just as likely as unlikely”. As the Brexit drama continues to stagger towards its end date, things are changing by the day, One thing for sure: it’s written in law that the UK will be leaving on 29th March at 11pm. But other than that, it’s impossible to say with any certainty what will happen next. Hold on to your hats, guys – it’s going to be a bumpy ride…
When someone comes over to your house, it’s perfectly natural to do a quick once over before they arrive. Plump up the cushions, brush those biscuit crumbs off the sofa, cram that pile of dirty dishes into the dishwasher – whether you’ve got family coming over or are hosting friends for a catch-up, everybody wants their house to look its best! But, when it comes to doing paid market research from home, especially in-home interviews, researchers would actually rather you didn’t have a last minute tidy up. Yes, really – however strange it might feel, put the duster down and ignore those urges to quickly spruce the place up. Here’s why:
It could affect your behaviour
A researcher isn’t there to judge the cleanliness of your kitchen sink. They just want to know how you use a product or service in your own environment, on a day-to-day basis. For example, if the study is on kitchen storage and the research is gathering information on your storage habits, they’re going to be looking at how you move around the room and utilise your current storage solutions. Tidying, cleaning, and changing the area might affect the way you do this. Basically, if you have shoved a pile of post from the kitchen table into one of the kitchen drawers that you would usually use for something else, it will have a knock-on effect when you come to use that drawer – which will have an impact on the whole study.
It could hide areas that need improvement
The idea of an in-home interview isn’t just to have a snoop inside your house. Rather, the researcher will be looking to identify any pain points. Or potential areas of improvement that their product or service could help resolve. In order to get to know you and identify things that do and don’t work for you, they need to really understand your rituals, your routines and your traditions. How else are they going to get a true understanding of how their product can benefit your life at home? By cleaning and tidying before the interviewer arrives, you could be covering up a pain point without even knowing it. Which means the study won’t be able to provide the most accurate results.
Researchers want authenticity
In-home interviews are carried out to gain insights into how people really live at home. In order for the research to be authentic, interviewers will observe everything. From your verbal responses to questions, to your body language as you move around your home. So truthfulness is absolutely key. Don’t worry though, the interviews aren’t intended to be intrusive and they’re not going to rummage through your knicker drawer! All researchers want is to see you in your natural environment. Whether observing how you interact with friends round or simply watching you rustle up a bite to eat. They’ll ask you a few questions about the products you are using. They want to peek into your life and see how they can help. So in order to make a difference, it’s absolutely vital that you are authentic in both your actions and your answers!
They’ll want to see the whole the house
When taking part in market research such as an in-home interview, it’s not unusual, in some cases, for researchers to want to see every room in the house. This is to get a real feel for your needs and a deeper understanding of your living space. And by every room, yes, that includes the spare room that is currently used as a dumping ground! That means there’s no point in gathering up any mess from your coffee table and dumping it in your bedroom. Because the researcher will most likely want to see that room too. Besides, if they need to take any measurements, they will do so using a laser. So you don’t need to worry about that pile of ironing being in the way.
In conclusion, when you take part in paid market research from home, researchers are looking for ways to help, not criticise. It’s all about identifying how you interact with different products and services and uncovering pain points so that they can improve their offerings and help to solve your problems. Remember, you’re not alone. We all have mountains of washing piling up that desperately needs to be sorted – the difference is who is brave enough to show it so that solutions to real-life problems can be developed!
Want to take part in paid market research with Angelfish? As with all of our market research projects, you will get paid between £50 and £100 for taking part in an in-home interview. Paid market research from home is fun, it’s flexible, and best of all, it’s a great opportunity to get your voice heard by big brands. If you want to get involved, sign up to our paneltoday.
There’s a lot of noise going on in British politics at the moment and, unsurprisingly, an awful lot of it is focused around the dreaded ‘B’ word. No, we don’t mean Boris Johnson – we’re talking about Brexit. The toing and froing around all things Brexit has been confusing for many, with each different expert having a seemingly different opinion on what will happen after 29th March. So, what does Brexit mean for the UK? We thought we’d get someone without a clue about politics to have a crack at working it all out.
Read on for our Brexit breakdown, and find out what on earth is really going on in the world of British politics. We’ll start with the basics, look at the main arguments for and against Brexit and take a look at what all the recent votes in the House of Commons are about. And, most importantly, we’ll address the question that concerns us the most: whether or not Milky Way Magic Stars (which aren’t currently sold outside of the EU) will still be available after Brexit or if we should stockpile them while we still can…
Back to basics
In 2017, the UK government paid £13 billion to the EU budget. EU spending on the UK was forecast to be £4 billion, making the UK’s ‘net contribution’ an estimated £9 billion. Since the UK voted to leave the EU in 2016 and Article 50 (the official way of telling Europe we are leaving) was invoked in March 2017, there have been endless talks about how Britain should go about leaving. The biggest hurdle? That all 27 remaining EU parliaments have to agree to the deal.
But in order to understand all that, first, we need to go back to basics and define what the EU even is – especially seeing as this was the most searched term on Google after the result of the referendum in 2016 (yes, really). The EU is basically a club of 28 countries in Europe. Each country pays to be a member, and in return, each member gets access to the single market. “What is the single market?” I hear you cry. Well, this means that the EU runs itself like one market, so you could move to Spain almost as easily as you could to Liverpool – or that’s the general idea, anyway.
The whole point of the EU forming was to break down the barriers for trading, allowing countries within the EU free movement of goods, services, capital, and labour (and also, y’know, to avoid WWIII – but that’s a whole different can of worms). It’s this last part, the movement of labour, that has caused a lot of unrest and was probably the deciding factor in the Brexit vote. But if the movement of labour is limited, then so too is the free movement of goods, services and capital. Basically, it’s au revoir to the single market as we know it.
The single market
You’ve probably heard the term single market being thrown around a lot in the last couple of years, and that’s because it mainly relates to trade — the hottest Brexit topic. Because the EU is run as one market when it comes to international trade it means that the US, for example, has to trade with the EU has a whole, and not with Britain, France, or Germany as individual countries. It also makes it easier for Britain to trade with other EU countries, as there are reduced taxes on imported goods.
So, if France wants to sell its wine in Britain, there basically won’t be any extra costs involved in doing so — whereas if the US wanted to sell its wine in Britain, it would have to trade with the EU as a whole, and then have an additional trade deal with different taxes and additional payments to sell it in the UK too. As the biggest trade union in the world, some could say that the single market is quite a handy thing to be part of really. So, if we leave the EU, can we stay in this exclusive cool kids trading club?
Can we stay in the single market if we leave the EU?
Erm, no. Basically, the UK can’t stay in the single market without following the EU rules and regulations. If we did stay in the market but made our own rules, it wouldn’t be a single market anymore — it would be two markets, and that’s clearly not an option. So what do we do? Well, one option is regulatory alignment, which is a posh way of saying we align our rules with those of the EU so we can still have access to the single market. It’s a softer Brexit option that could help with access to the trade club, like Norway.
Norway has a deal with the EU which means they are a part of the customs union. Another word frequently thrown around, it sounds a lot more technical than it is and basically just ensures that countries charge the same import costs to non-members of the union. However, in this scenario, the EU still has all the power (meaning those who voted for Brexit aren’t that keen), and Europe is still pretty miffed at us for leaving. One thing’s for sure, though – with 44% of our exports going to the EU, if we don’t negotiate a good trade deal, our exports would be subject to import tariffs and extra admin costs.
What does parliament keep voting on?
There seems to be some kind of vote going on in parliament every five minutes at the moment. First, there was the vote on the Chequers Deal, where Theresa May put her long-worked-on Brexit deal to parliament only for it to be historically defeated. The heaviest defeat of a Prime Minister in the democratic era, her deal was rejected by a resounding majority of 230. Ouch. Next, the Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn called for a vote of no confidence, which the PM survived with a majority of 19.
Still in Brexit deadlock, recently there were yet more votes in the House of Commons. MPs voted for an amendment by 317 votes to 301 to pass Theresa May’s Brexit deal if she can negotiate changes to the Irish backstop. The Prime Minister promised to return to the Commons with a revised deal to vote on by 13th February and hailed a “substantial and sustainable” Commons majority for leaving the EU. The only problem is, the EU immediately said the backstop wasn’t open for re-negotiation; this could make it pretty tricky for the PM to get a revised deal for the Commons to vote on when the EU has already made it clear they aren’t going to budge.
What does this all mean? Basically, that as Theresa May heads back to Brussels for the billionth time, the Brexit saga continues to limp along. The Commons rejected a vote to extend Article 50 beyond the end of March, which means that D-Day is still looming in just two months time. And with No Deal looking more likely, the pound has dropped pretty sharply too.
As the drama continues to unfold, stay tuned for ‘Part Two’ of this blog series – what does Brexit mean for the UK? – where we look in more detail at the impact Brexit will have on our day-to-day lives. No need to panic, though! We’ve done a bit of research and it seems that for now, Magic Stars are most likely still going to be available. Phew!
Ever thought aboutregistering for market research, but felt daunted at the prospect of going alone or speaking out in a group? You’ve probably already heard of some of the most common market research methods such asfocus groups, market research online communities, andaccompanied shops. But did you know that you can also take part in paid market research with your bestie? Yep – you read that right – a friendship pair is a type of market research methodology that involves two friends or family members taking part in market research together. Sound interesting? Read on to find out more!
What is a friendship pair?
Basically, a friendship pair is a type of market research method where researchers carry out an interview with two people together. By observing you and one of your friends, brands can see what you chat about, what makes you tick, and how you interact with their product. This is so they can understand how and why you make the decisions you do. And, because you’re taking part in research with a friend, the idea is that you don’t feel as shy as you might do in other market research scenarios. All this means you’ll both feel confident enough to have a truly open and honest discussion. So, researchers can really get to the bottom of what you think and why.
How do they work?
When you take part in a friendship pair interview, you’ll be given a particular product, service, or concept to chat about whilst you are observed and asked questions by a moderator. The researcher will be looking at how you and your friend interact and engage with each other, how you make decisions and how you share ideas. Because of the social dynamic and close relationship between you, friendship pair interviews can deliver a clear understanding of what you think and feel, and why. And, because they provide a great way to open up in a relaxed environment, they’re often a popular research methodology with children and young people too.
How long do they last?
Generally speaking, friendship pair interviews last for around 60-90 minutes, but this will, of course, vary with each particular project. They can take place at home, online, out and about, or even in a central location. However, because the researcher will want to watch your body language and interaction, most often they are conducted face-to-face. Basically, just think of it as having a cuppa and a natter with your bestie whilst getting paid for it. We’ll even provide the biscuits!
See, we told you market research could be fun! If you’re interested in taking part in paid market research with one of your friends,register for market research with Angelfish today. It’s also a great way to earn a bit of extra cash! Companies are always wanting to hear your feedback on their products and services. So, feel free to have a peek at ourcurrent projects to see if there’s anything that tickles your fancy. Or alternatively, sign up to our panel toregister for market research and start getting paid to have your say! Sign Up Here.
Christmas is a time for food, drinks, friends, and family. And, erm, a bit more food, a few more drinks, and another bite or two of food thrown in for good measure. So, when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, it’s not surprising that many of us feel like embarking on a bit of a detox. If you want a healthy start to the year, it might be worth taking part in Dry January – not only will you feel better for it, but because you’ll probably save money by not drinking alcohol, your bank balance will thank you for it too!
Alcohol Change UK is a leading charity who promote ‘alcohol change’ rather than being ‘anti-alcohol’. What they are aiming to do is create a future in which people drink as a conscious choice, not a default. That’s why every year, Alcohol Change run Dry January, a one-month, booze-free challenge. With 88% of participants reporting they save money by not drinking alcohol, there are a number of benefits to taking part! It’s not too late to get involved either – you can still sign up here.
And don’t worry – taking part in Dry January doesn’t mean you need to be stuck at home whilst your friends are out having a good time. There are tons of delicious alcohol-free cocktail recipes out there – in fact, we’ve put together our top five mocktail recipes below so you can still join in the fun but without waking up with a fuzzy head the next day!
Whisk together the water and ¾ cup white sugar in a bowl until the sugar is completely dissolved. Fill a large jug halfway with ice, and pour in the simple sugar mixture. Add in the unsweetened cranberry-pomegranate juice, along with the sparkling water, sliced lime, and pomegranate and stir.
Dip the top of your Champagne glass into a bowl filled with the remain ¼ cup sugar to rim the glass. Pour the drink into the sugar rimmed glass and garnish with a cinnamon stick and/or fresh mint.
Garnish: 1 thin, lengthwise slice of cucumber, 2 dill sprig
Press the cucumber slice against the inside of a chilled highball glass and add ice. Meanwhile, muddle the chopped dill, agave syrup, lemon and lime juice in a cocktail shaker, add one tablespoon of water, and mix until the syrup is completely dissolved. Add ice and cucumber and shake well.
Strain into the prepared glass, and stir in the soda water or lemonade. Garnish with the dill sprig.
This one couldn’t be more simple to make – so if you want to make a delicious mocktail quickly, look no further! Fill a highball glass with ice and orange juice, then pour in the grenadine. Voila – quick, easy, and delicious!
Mix together the chopped strawberries, kiwi fruit, and pineapple rings and add to eight glasses. Fill the glasses with equal amounts of chilled apple juice, chilled tropical fruit juice, and chilled soda water. Serve and enjoy immediately.
This delicious thirst quencher doesn’t need any extra garnish – it’s pretty enough on its own!
Garnish: your favourite sweets, treat stick, sliced lime
Dip your favourite glass in water then into a bowl of red decorating sugar to rim the glass. Fill the glass with ice, add 1 ounce of grenadine, lime juice, and top up with sparkling lemonade.
Garnish with a slice of lime, add your favourite sweets to the treat stick and balance it on the top of the glass. Simple, fun, and delicious!
According to Alcohol Change UK, 58% of participants lost weight during last year’s challenge, and 71% enjoyed better sleep. Dry January clearly has a number of health benefits – but don’t forget you’ll also save money by not drinking alcohol too! If you’d like to save even more cash in the New Year, why not sign up to our panel to take part in paid market research? It’s great fun and you can fit it in around your work and family life too.
If you’re participating in Dry January, we hope these recipes provide you with some great alcohol-free ideas. Good luck – and enjoy!
If you’re a techie, you’ll know that just before Christmas lots of new gadgets are released in time for the holidays. It can feel like you’re absolutely spoilt for choice! From the latest pair of headphones to voice recognition speakers, there’s a whole world of different options out there. So, what are you putting on your Christmas list? To help you make your mind up on what gadget to go for, whether for yourself or for someone else, we’ve put together our top six tech presents this year! Plus, if you want to make sure you have a bit more cash in the bank this month, why not take part in one of our usability testing market research studies? You can get paid to test out new products, so check out our current projects to see what works for you. So, in no particular order, here are some of the best gadgets to get your hands on this year…
Here’s something the whole family will love! This nifty little device combines the shape of a smartphone with the traditional Polaroid camera. Snap away to your heart’s content and watch your pictures print out almost instantly.
It has a 16-megapixel camera and a built-in flash, producing high-quality photographs for your scrapbook or photo album! It also has an integrated selfie mirror, so you can really capture every moment this Christmas. The device comes in 5 different colours: white, black, blue, red or yellow, and you can print your pics in three modes: colour, black and white, and sepia. Currently, it’s on sale at Argos for £74.99.
Bonus gadget: Canon has released its ‘Zoemini’ mobile photo printer, a pocket-sized and portable printer. Connect your phone via the Canon Mini Print app and start printing your latest photos over Bluetooth. You can add filters, distortions, drawings or text for a customised image, and then peel the back off your print to stick directly in your scrapbook (or anywhere you like!). It’s £199.99 at Argos and Amazon, so get your order in!
With up to 40 hours of battery life, you can listen to your favourite tunes all day, and then some! These headphones have fine-tuned acoustics that maximise clarity, and their cushioned ear cups make for an immersive musical experience. If you’re on the go, their Bluetooth connection means that there are no wires to get tangled up in. Plus they even fold up, making it easy to slip them into your bag. You can buy them from Apple for £249.95 or £229.95 from Currys in a range of different colours.
If you’re a fan of voice-recognition, then you’ll love the Amazon Echo Dot Smart Device with Alexa. With its refined design, this smart speaker fits in any room of the house. You can ask it to play music, read the news, and tell jokes! If you need to make a call or send a quick message to someone, no trouble: just download the Alexa App and sync your contacts straight from your phone. Alexa can even answer calls for you with a simple command, meaning you can have hands-free conversations – perfect for a busy family life.
With better, louder sound, this 3rd generation is a step up from previous makes and can hear you even over loud music. You can connect it to other compatible Echo devices at home by using ‘Drop In’, so you can send an announcement to your speakers in different rooms, like calling the kids for dinner (making this a great gift for teenagers!). It’s available at John Lewis, Currys, or Amazon for £49.99.
If you’re a movie lover, then you need this projector in your life! Grab a couple of big blankets and cuddle up with a Christmas classic this year with the family. Its exclusive SuperColor technology offers a wider colour range for accurate and crisp image projection. The SonicExpert technology produces a great sound quality, too. It’s great to use all year round, even suitable for outdoor viewings in the summer! A great present for the whole family, the ViewSonic Lumens Projector is currently on Amazon for £275. Keep an eye out for our usability testing market research projects if you’d like to top up your bank account in time for Christmas. That way, you could make this year a great one!
Sticking with the movie theme, another great Christmas present would be the Amazon Fire TV stick 4K Ultra HD with Alexa Voice Remote (try and say that once you’ve had a few mulled wines!)
Choose from 200,000 movies and episodes to enjoy from Prime video, BBC, Netflix, Channel 4, Disney, Curzon and more! Then, once you’ve made your mind up on what to watch, you can launch your favourite films and TV series with voice control. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can get unlimited access to literally thousands of programmes and films – so you certainly won’t be bored this Christmas break! You can even stream music; there are over 2 million songs (yes, 2 million!) to listen to, so your Christmas parties will never be dull! It’s available on Amazon for £49.99.
Want to get active in the new year? Stay on top of your resolution in 2019 with the Fitbit Charge 3. The most advanced tracker yet, this wearable device helps you get to know your body and understand your health. Some features include 24/7 heart rate tracking, fitness, and sleep tracking, contactless payments, and a 7-day battery life. Oh, yes, and it shows the time. You can choose from four different colour combinations including grey/rose-gold, lavender/rose gold, white/graphite, and black/graphite. Get it for £129.99 on the Fitbit site or on Amazon.
What are you tempted by? There are loads of great new gadgets out there this year, some making pretty exciting Christmas presents! So, if you’re thinking about treating yourself or a loved one to a brand new sparkling TV, but need to save the pennies before you take the plunge, then why not consider taking part in paid market research?
Here at Angelfish Opinions, we often have usability testing projects, which you can easily get involved in by signing up to our panel. We also run other types of research types, such as focus groups and online communities too, all of which are great fun! If you’d like to voice your opinions to the brands you love and make a real difference to the way products are made, then join our research panel today.
We’ve all been there: the thought of trawling the shops in a search for a wardrobe update can sometimes seem such a time-consuming, laborious task. The dreaded dressing-room dramas are enough to put anyone off; standing in a badly-lit cubicle, holding the flimsy curtain shut to avoid passing shoppers, trying to squeeze into a ridiculously sized top – it’s not always a relaxing experience. It’s one of the reasons why consumer shopping behaviours have changed so much in recent years.
Many of us have turned to the world of online shopping, not just for clothing, but for food, homeware, and technology too. And why not? The ease of finding and selecting exactly what you want, at the price you want, at any time of the day, right from the comfort of your own home. What’s not to love?
Consumer shopping behaviours are changing, and it’s now having an effect on the retail industry as a whole. But what do people really prefer – in-store or online shopping?
Vanity Sizing and the ‘Try Before You Buy’ Mentality
Have you ever picked up an item which you thought was your size, only to find that it was far too big? If so, don’t worry; you haven’t suddenly shrunk to the size of a nine-year-old, you’ve just become victim to vanity sizing.
Vanity sizing is a technique used by clothing brands with the aim to make customers feel good about having to buy clothes in smaller sizes than they would elsewhere. Increasing the measurements of garments results in people having to buy one or even two sizes smaller than they normally would. On the flip side, other high-street brands such as H&Mhave received complaints in the past about their sizes being too small. These days, clothes shopping can involve quite a lot of guesswork and risk-taking. But people don’t want to have to try on multiple sizes of the same garment just to figure out what they should be buying, do they? No, customers want efficiency, ease, and confidence in their sizing.
To keep up with changing consumer shopping behaviours, online retailers such as ASOS have introduced a ‘fit assistant’ service that will help you find the perfect size at the click of a button. All they ask is for your height, weight, and whether you prefer loose- or tight-fitting clothing. Running your data against others’, they compare what people your size bought and didn’t return. The result shows the recommended size for a specific item, which you can then save for later purchases. This meets the demands of the modern customer, who values personalised services. Using technology such as this has made online shopping much more convenient, meaning people don’t even have to leave their homes to make a purchase that they have confidence in.
Of course, when you shop in-store, you’re able to touch the products, try them on, and get a better overall feel for the item. This, for many, is why in-store shopping is still the preferred option. So, to compete with this, online retailers such as Amazon’s ‘Prime Wardrobe’, are now offering ‘try before you buy’ services, meaning that customers don’t need to pay for the item that they have ordered before testing it out at home.
Klarna, for example, works with well-known brands to offer a ‘pay later’ service for customers. They also run a payment plan, to ‘slice’ bulk costs into equal monthly payments, making online shopping more attractive to consumers.
Virtual dressing rooms that use artificial intelligence (AI) technology, is also becoming a popular trend, again altering consumer shopping behaviours by offering alternatives to traditional in-store purchasing. Gap’s 3D dressing room app allows you to create an avatar of yourself to see how different clothes fit on your body shape, avoiding those dressing-room-dramas! Would you be inclined to try this technology out in place of in-store shopping?
Specsavers are also using AI to aid the customer’s journey with their virtual try-on technology. This uses facial analysis to scan the customer’s face shape and features; taking the guesswork out of buying a new pair of glasses. All pretty nifty, right?
Shopping on Social Media
Social media influencers have also had an impact on the way people buy products. Nowadays, people are relying more and more on customer reviews before they buy a product; 60% of consumers look at online reviews at least on a weekly basis, and 93% say that these reviews impact their purchasing decisions. With the rise of social media, some people have built quite a significant following, meaning they have a certain influence over their audience. Brands are now working with these influencers to advertise their products and, as consumers have more reliance on recommendations, this has become an effective marketing technique.
Instagram, for example, has now integrated an online shopping system, where users are able to click on an image which is showcasing a particular product and be taken to the site where they are able to purchase it. This seamless shopping experience enables people to quickly access more information about the product, all without leaving the app.
Technology is now being introduced in-store to meet this demand for convenience. As you may be aware, supermarkets now offer a ‘scan as you shop’ service, where you can pack up your items as you walk around the aisles, paying for everything in one go when you’re finished. No longer do you have to wait in queues at the checkout, which cuts down the amount of time it takes to do your weekly shop! Although this has made shopping in-store easier, online food shopping is even less time-consuming. With just a few clicks, customers can have their food delivered straight to their door, even within a specified time period.
If that wasn’t enough, we now have companies such as HelloFresh, who deliver boxes of fresh ingredients, all readily measured out to make healthy meals. They even provide the step-by-step recipe within the delivery, making mealtimes even more convenient. With our everyday lives getting busier and busier, the less patience we seem to have! So the easier it is to shop for and cook our meals, the more appealing it is!
Even fast food is starting to get faster with the introduction of self-service ordering. McDonald’s has upgraded many of its stores with touch-screen kiosks so that customers can choose exactly they want from a wide range of different choices.
The impact of technology
It’s clear that technology has had a massive impact on consumer shopping behaviour. Customers value convenience, ease, and seamless shopping, opting for the brand that will save them the most time, while still delivering great quality service. The wave of online shopping has had a negative effect on brick-and-mortar shops; we’ve seen big brands suffer – including House of Fraser and Toys R Us.
To get your voice heard by the brands you love, and to get paid for sharing your opinions, why not take part in our market research studies? One method you can take part in is accompanied shopping, where your shopping habits are observed. That’s right – you can get paid to go shopping! They can last between 30 minutes and 2 hours, depending on the study or size of the store. You will be joined by a researcher, who won’t influence you in any way, but may ask you a few questions as you go about your shopping trip! Brands want to know how you shop so that they can get to know you, and what you like. Sign up to our research panel, we look forward to hearing from you!