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Consumer Habits Changed by Recession and new Technology, Reveals TouchPoints4 Data

LONDON April 26, 2012


The IPA TouchPoints Database covers consumers’ general life activities, attitudes, mood and media usage. This latest Survey, the fourth, is based on the habits of a representative sample of the GB adult population during late 2011.

Key findings include:

How we spend our time – we are spending more time at home, doing less, and are predominantly happy:

  • We are spending less time working, both overall and at work, and less time shopping and socialising. As a result we are spending more time at home, currently 17 hours 30 minutes a day, which is up 20 minutes from 2010 and 30 minutes from 2008.
  • Given that we are in an Olympic year, it is interesting that the amount of time we spend playing sports, about 2 hours 30 minutes per week, is relatively constant, however, we are spending an increasing amount of time, almost 1 hour 30 minutes a day, doing nothing in particular. This is up 13 minutes from 2010 and 26 minutes from 2008.
  • We are happy most of the time, recording just over eight hours of happiness in an average day. Our second major feeling is one of tiredness which we feel for just over two and a half hours per day.  
  • 15-24s are significantly more emotional; being angrier, more excited, more bored, less confident, less hopeful and more worried than adults in general. Men are more confident than women but women spend more time feeling tired.
  • Due to the ongoing effects of the recession 47% of all adults (44% in 2010) agree they are more stressed and 24% (23% in 2010) feel that there is little they can do to change their lives.

How we spend our money – we are shopping less, for less expensive purchases:

  • The average amount of time spent shopping continues to fall from 44 minutes a day in 2008 to 38 minutes per day in 2010 to 29 minutes in 2012.
  • Of all purchases we make in a week, 57% are for £20 or less and 4% are online. Cash is still the dominant method of payment and only one in a hundred people say they use the new ‘Tap and Go’ technology in a month.
  • 57% (compared to 54% in 2010) of all adults agree that they have tightened their belts significantly and 73% (compared to 72% in 2010) say if they want something expensive, they would rather save up for it than put it on their credit card.
  • Compared to 2010, when shopping an increasing number of adults say that:  they look for the lowest prices (67% from 59% in 2010); they shop around to take advantage of special offers (68%from 62%); that price is the most important factor in choosing a product or service (43% from 39%). Also there has been a reduction in the number of adults who are prepared to pay extra for a better quality of service (from 68% in 2008 to 71% in 2010). The percentage of adults who say that they use a particular store for the main reason of price also rose from 36% to 40%.

Changes to the way we consume media – we are increasingly multi-tasking our media use, increasingly watching television online and using our mobiles more to access the Internet:

  • We are increasingly media multi-tasking with the percentage of adults using two or more media in the same half hour rising from 76% in 2010 to 79% in 2012.
  • The relatively new practice of ‘double screening’ is growing rapidly. Nearly half of all adults and three quarters of 15-24s say they surf the Internet on their laptop whilst watching television. Whilst just over a quarter of adults, and just over half of 15-24s say they surf the internet on their mobile phone whilst watching television per month. Looking at just television, one in five adults and two in five 15-24s watch a television programme via Internet whist watching another television programme on the main television set.
  • New technology is also expanding the social interaction around television. 6% of all adults when watching a television programme like to be able to chat online about what they are viewing; this rises to 17% for 15-24s. Similarly, 13% of all adults and 26% of 15-24s prefer to watch TV programmes at the same time as their friends and family are doing so even if they are not in the same room.
  • 39% of all adults and 59% of 15-24s use their mobile phones to access the Internet each week up from 16% and 34% respectively in 2010.

  • 9% of adults use a tablet computer at least once a month compared to 8% who use an ebook.  One in three adults use apps each month with 10% of all adults listening to live radio through an app.
  • Watching TV online and watching video online is done by 29% of adults each week (compared to 20% in 2010), each for an average 18 minutes a day – an increase of 4 minutes a day.

Lynne Robinson

Notes to editors:

The IPA TouchPoints Survey provides communication strategists with a consumer-centric planning tool which analyses how people are using the increasingly wide range of media available to them and how this usage fits in to their lifestyles.

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It is designed as a stand-alone survey and a survey which allows other media research currencies and surveys such as BARB, NRS, RAJAR, TGI etc. and proprietary surveys to be integrated onto it.

The survey, conducted by Ipsos MediaCT, questioned 5,567adults aged 15+ through a substantial self-completion questionnaire and an e.diary that collected data every half hour for a week on how they were spending their time, their opinions, and the role of media in their lives.

United Kingdom


For further information:

[email protected]

SOURCE The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA)

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