Almost 28 million people in the UK are now considered ‘financially vulnerable’. But as many customers do not necessarily self-identify in this way, not everyone who qualifies for support comes forward to receive it. That makes it even more crucial for brands to understand their vulnerable customers, and to recognise how insight can help clarify the connection between low income, unmanaged debt and vulnerability.

What you’ll learn:

  • A better understanding of the connection between low income, unmanaged debt and vulnerability
  • Why it’s important to understand and adapt to the needs of vulnerable customers and why it should be part of any good business model
  • How real life examples can impact brands
  • What lessons are learned when researching vulnerable customers and how this insight can play a part in creating long-lasting positive change

The number of people in the UK who are considered ‘financially vulnerable’ currently stands at nearly 28 million. Less affluent customers suffer more from low financial resilience, low financial capability, negative life events, and health problems.

Clearly this is a deeply troubling number, particularly as it’s set to increase even further with reduced universal credit, soaring gas prices and the end of the furlough scheme. How do we begin to make sense of this, and what does it mean for brands?

One major problem is that people do not always perceive themselves as vulnerable, which is an understandable response given how value loaded the label is. But this lack of self-identification has consequences. It means that many people who qualify for support from companies rarely reach out to access it.

It’s clear that insight can positively influence how these people are understood and protected. In this session, Rebecca Hitchmough explores the importance of understanding vulnerable customers across all groups, and what the future holds for the landscape of vulnerability.

Rebecca Hitchmough, Associate Director, Walnut Unlimited, is a qualitative social research specialist who places a particular emphasis on customer experience and behaviour change. During her eight years at the company, she has specialised in conducting research among under researched and ‘vulnerable’ audiences on a range of sensitive topics, such as disability, poverty and radicalisation.
Rebecca has always had an interest in understanding the social structures that underpin and maintain marginalised groups in our society. She is not only experienced and qualified, but extremely passionate about ensuring the lived experiences of those typically underrepresented inform positive change. Rebecca graduated with a BA in Social Policy and Philosophy from the University of Leeds, and holds an MSc in Research Methods and the MRS Advanced Certificate in Market and Social Research.


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