Report: U.S. consumer confidence hits near-record low
New York City — A report released Thursday by Bloomberg said that consumer confidence in the United States slumped last week to the second-lowest level on record.
The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index dropped to minus 53 in the period ended Sept. 25 from minus 52.1 the prior week. Similar readings were reached three times in the first half of 2009 and surpassed only by all-time lows of minus 54 plumbed in November 2008 and again in January 2009.
The vast majority — 93% — of survey respondents had a negative opinion of the economy as companies remain reluctant to hire and wages fail to keep pace with inflation. The slowdown in the housing market and a decline in stock prices this year have taken a toll on household wealth, helping explain why Americans as limiting their spending.
“The discontent among the public across demographic and income groups strongly suggests that the problems in the labor market are extracting a powerful toll,” said Joseph Brusuelas, a senior economist at Bloomberg LP in New York City. “The flat labor market and decline in real earnings will likely erode plans to spend heading into the critical holiday shopping season.”
Epay teams with Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile and Assurance for prepaid wireless
Leawood, Kan. — Epay, a division of electronic payments provider Euronet Worldwide, said Thursday it has forged an exclusive agreement to process prepaid mobile airtime transactions in the independent retail segment for Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile USA and Assurance Wireless.
These no-contract wireless brands are owned by Sprint.
Epay has developed an array of integrated tools that provide mobile operators with the functionality to allow mobile operators to map their distribution networks, analyze retailer performance and better understand subscriber behavior; influence distributor and subscriber behavior in order to own more of the customer experience and drive subscriber and revenue growth; and enhance selling, commissioning and reporting systems.
Survey: U.K. customers cite slow forms, security as top e-commerce concerns
Worcester, England — A survey released Thursday by Postcode Anywhere revealed that online security concerns, long forms and enforced sign-up are the three things most likely to make consumers abandon online purchases.
One thousand U.K. consumers were asked to name the top three reasons they might abandon their shopping online. Security concerns topped the poll, with 50% of consumers rating the factor among their top turn-offs.
Running a close second with 44% of votes was the problem of website forms taking "too long to fill out." Enforced sign-up before checkout was the third highest consumer gripe, with 38% of consumers placing it in their top three reasons for cart abandonment.
In joint fourth place, with 31%, was having to leave the payment process to work out the final price, along with customers simply deciding they don’t like the product after all.
Poor design in general got a vote for 23% of those polled.
"While a lot of emphasis is rightly placed on the design of ecommerce sites (and design touches almost all customers’ gripes in some way), it’s interesting that getting ‘the basics’ right is essential,” said Postcode Anywhere’s sales and marketing director Phil Rothwell.