Donations by text 'expected to rise by 34% in the next year'

But in its annual market review, the Phone-paid Services Authority admits that last year's prediction of a total of £124.4m in 2017/18 was based on flawed calculations

Charity donations by text are expected to rise by 34 per cent over the next year, although the projected figure has fallen dramatically since predictions were made last year because of an error in the way they were previously calculated.

In its annual market review, published this week, the Phone-paid Services Authority, which regulates payments taken by text services, says £37.5m was given in charity donations by text by 6.5 million users in 2017/18, a fall of 2.8 per cent on the previous year.

Last year the PSA estimated that text donations would bring in about £124.4m in 2017/18, based on calculations that suggested they made £115m in 2016/17.

But this year’s report admits that "it appears that previous estimates of the size of charity donations paid via text may have been overestimated", and last year’s charity donation total was actually £38.6m.

"The original figure for charity donations was an estimate based on data provided by industry in 2014," the report says.

"This figure of £120m-£125m has formed the basis upon which subsequent growth or decline has been applied using data and trends supplied by industry as part of the ongoing in-depth research carried out by Mobilesquared for PSA."

In 2017, PSA commissioned Mobilesquared, a mobile market research company, to conduct a more thorough analysis of the services, the report says.

"This exercise has resulted in the deepest dive yet into the phone-paid services sector. Industry has provided Mobilesquared with greater transparency than ever before regarding the breakdown of the revenues across the true extent of content and services now available."

It says this process allows the PSA "to challenge previous revenue figures across every sector" including those for charity donations, which have been revised down as a result.

The predicted 34 per cent rise in the next year will be fuelled by the planned return of key telethon events and growth in the percentage of users giving regularly, the report says.

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