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2024 State of the Call: Consumers prefer voice, but spam and fraud are threats

While consumers and businesses continue to prioritize voice calls, phone fraud, and spam are on the rise, posing a threat to the medium preferred to communicate sensitive information and conduct necessary business transactions.

That was one of the key takeaways from Hiya’s 2024 State of the Call report, a global study of the trends shaping the voice-calling industry. Data in the report, released today, is based on a survey of more than 12,000 consumers, 1,800 workers who use the phone in their occupation, and 600 security and IT professionals. Respondents were based in the United Kingdom, the US, Canada, France, Germany, and Spain. 


Download the 2024 State of the Call report


Five key trends were identified in the 2024 report. They include:

Trend #1: Consumers and businesses continue to prioritize voice calls

Consumers in 2023 preferred voice calls over email or text by a wide margin, especially when communicating about sensitive information or critical business decisions. For example, 36% of consumers said they prefer voice when engaging with healthcare providers, 33% prefer voice for bank/lender communications, and 32% opted for voice when talking to credit card companies.

On the business side, 66% of companies said voice calls were “essential” or “very important” to achieving their goals, such as making sales. 

Consumers consistently prefer voice calls over other communication methods when sensitive data is at stake.

Trend #2: Spam and fraud calls are a major problem that is only getting worse

According to Hiya’s research, on average, consumers reported receiving five unwanted calls per week. However, the number varies by region, with U.S. consumers reporting the highest rate of unwanted calls, at 8 per week. 

Hiya’s data confirms the problem is worsening: In 2023, more than 28% of the 46.75 billion unknown calls analyzed by Hiya were spam or fraud, compared to 24% in 2022. Despite this trend, few consumers use apps designed to enhance call protection. Only about one-third of consumers have downloaded phone fraud prevention apps, and 59% said they would be unwilling to pay extra for protection.


Trend #3: The financial cost of spam and fraud calls is increasing

The impact of spam and fraud calls on consumers is much more than mere annoyance. They’re also losing money — and the financial cost has grown significantly over the past year. Sixteen percent of consumers surveyed by Hiya said they lost money to a phone scam in the past year, and the numbers are higher in Germany (19%) and France (18%). 

Unwanted calls are also wasting consumers’ time. Consumers report spending nine minutes each week — or more than 7.6 hours per year — screening unwanted calls. Faced with the persistent scourge of unwanted calls, 11% of consumers said they had switched carriers in a bid to improve their call experience. Another 27% are considering switching.


Trend #4: Businesses report growing concerns about the threat that spam and fraud calls pose to their operations, reputations and bottom line

Previous State of the Call reports found that businesses struggled to reach consumers and prospects because their calls were either labeled as spam or fraud, or unidentified. The latest data shows that this issue remains a serious challenge for organizations: 46% of unidentified calls go unanswered — even when legitimate businesses are calling. 

Beyond the challenge of being unable to reach consumers using voice, businesses are also suffering reputational harm caused by scammers who impersonate their companies when trying to defraud consumers. Thirty-three percent of business workers said scammers used their company name in calls, and 25% said scammers had hijacked or spoofed their phone numbers.


Trend #5: Solutions that improve call identity are essential to mitigating spam and fraud. Call protection is important, too, particularly for businesses

The key to solving the challenges described above is to implement better call identity and protection, making it easier for consumers to trust and answer calls — as 77% of consumers report being more likely to answer a call if they know who is calling. Additionally, business workers (31%) agree that adding identity is the most effective way to increase call answer rates. 



“Ninety-two percent of consumers believe unidentified calls are fraudulent,” said Kush Parikh, president of Hiya. “As a result, nearly half of such calls go unanswered. In the case of the other half of unidentified calls — those that consumers do pick up — recipients typically only answer reluctantly due to concerns that it may be a call they can't miss. This erosion of trust is not just a minor inconvenience; it’s a significant barrier to effective and secure interactions between businesses and their customers, not to mention friends and family.”

Download the 2024 State of the Call report

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Author Tanvi Saxena

Vice President, Product Management