In a world of rapid change amidst globalisation, volatile economies and the tech revolution, with the diversification and consolidation of businesses resulting in employment instability and mounting stress, as well as conflict over natural resources and power struggles displacing native populations; many have moved abroad in the belief that the grass is greener on the other side, but is it?
The Expat Surbey tries to establish the answer to this question and more, to understand migratory patterns and causes; and gain a true understanding of expatriate life across all nationalities and territories. It’s taken four months for its team to analyse more than 60,000 pages of consolidated results and insights into the lives of almost 8,000 expats around the globe. Highlights from 2013 study in the world’s largest independent research programme have recently been revealed.
Comprising more than 150 questions across 3 surveys, ‘Migration & Lifestyle’, ‘Retail & Finance’ and ‘Travel & Health’, The Expat Survey 2013 was launched on the 15th July last year and remained live for 6 months. Any nationality in any country was free to engage in the project; and providing they completed all three parts of the programme each expat was then entered into a prize draw to win £1,000 cash.
Responses came from 128 countries, with most of the feedback being provided by ten nationalities – British, Americans, South Africans, Irish, Dutch, Australians, Canadians, Indians, Germans and New Zealanders.
Project Director Emma Wood explains ‘we wanted to achieve several key things with our research programme. Firstly to learn about each expatriate’s migratory journey and the reasons behind their decision to leave their country of origin. Secondly, to find out whether or not the grass is greener on the other side and thirdly to establish what is now relevant to them and the decisions they make in their day to day lives; from banks to brands, health to holidays, the technology they favour and the media they connect with. Beyond this we wanted to secure meaningful and ongoing engagement with them, so that they can continue to share their views and opinions with us’.
‘We are delighted with the outcome of our inaugural study. Expats from all walks of life and locations have made an invaluable contribution and we are now able to understand what’s important to them and what isn’t, what they feel adds value to their lives or influences their decisions when making critical consumer choices. In a world where we are all constantly bombarded with information and advertising messages, relevancy is particularly significant to this group of individuals, due to the dynamics of their lifestyles’.
Out of 56 contract, pay as you go and roaming SIM solutions put forward by those residing outside their country of origin, the top 3 coms providers based on vote volumes were Vodafone, Orange and T-Mobile.
Wood adds ‘the project covered a diverse range of topics and gleaned in-depth insights. For example, whilst it’s significant to know which coms companies expats mostly subscribe to, it was particularly relevant to learn that in many cases those companies don’t have exclusively ownership of their customers’ consumption. When expats are on the move many often adapt their telecoms and broadband solutions on a trip by trip basis, subject to the continent and territory they are going to; and with a good understanding of the infrastructure and options available to them. Many use several packages with different providers and numerous actually explained why’.
Out of 167 travel website/apps nominated it wasn’t an airline or tour operator that dominated the top 10, but price comparison platforms with Skyscanner in first position, Expedia in second and Booking.com in third; but interestingly it wasn’t only price that ranked in their priorities when choosing to look up these providers.
Independently minded expats didn’t hold back when sharing their opinions of online retailers. Many received significant praise, but in equal quantities there was criticism for certain elements of the online shopping experiences they had received.
When asked about their favourite brands the top 10 were Apple, Samsung, Chanel, Armani, Gucci, Nike, Sony, Zara, Ralph Lauren and Marks and Spencer. And whilst most of these are deemed to be luxury with considerable price tags, to those that voted they were regarded as good value for money.
‘We are pleased to report that Eastern and Latin American cultures connected with us too; and in the 2014 research study due to launch in the middle of next month, we shall be focussing on developing response levels from Chinese, Brazilian and other emerging groups’ said Wood.
‘In tandem with the 2014 research programme we also intend to launch The Expat Survey Consumer Awards (TESCA) to further empower expatriate consumers, as they will be able to nominate and explain in up to 100 words why they favour certain media and companies that service them’.
‘If you reside outside your country of origin for more than 6 months in any 12 month period, on a temporary or permanent basis, we really want to hear from you. The Expat Survey is accessible via smart phone, iPad and most tech applications, so wherever you are in the world we hope that those that engaged with us last year will join us again this year; and that thousands more expats will join in too’.
The Expat Survey 2013 prize draw was won by Mrs Audrey Harris, originally from Britain but now living in Fuerteventura, who invested her winnings in a new laptop and a trip to visit her family. The 2014 research programme will again offer a cash prize for participation, as well as some other great treats to be announced in the coming weeks on their website at www.theexpatsurvey.com.