The IPA (Institute of Practitioners in Advertising) in the UK has just revealed the results of its groundbreaking TouchPoints Survey: a week in the life of a representative sample of the GB adult population during the latter part of 2005.
The survey, conducted by TNS, questioned 5,010 people through a substantial self-completion questionnaire and a PDA (personal digital assistant) time-based 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.
A snapshot of the research shows that consumers are leading distinctive and individual lifestyles and that TV viewing still dominates over other media including the Internet.
TV remains the lead medium for the majority of adults - this is true for all age groups and is irrespective of Internet access. The media hierarchy in hours for all adults between Monday and Friday is: 3.9 television, 1.3 hours radio and 0.8 Internet. On Saturday and Sunday this changes to: 4.5 television, 1.5 radio and 1.0 Internet.
On a typical weekday a 15-24 year old home Internet user spends 2 hours surfing the Internet - this rises to 2.4 hours at the weekend and averages 14.8 hours for the week. 33% of this group are spending 4 or more hours watching television on an average weekday. The mean for this group is 3.2 hours on an average weekday rising to 3.9 hours at the weekend. Commercial television accounts for 75% of viewing.
The study also shows that only 13% of all written communication is now using pen and paper; 49% is via email, 29% via SMS text and 10% is via Internet Instant Messaging.
In terms of consumer lifestyles, on an average weekday, a two parent family unit with children spends 21% of its time as a complete family unit, peaking at the 9pm watershed. On the weekend, this figure rises to almost double (39%), peaking at 7pm on a Saturday and 9.30pm on a Sunday. The study found that people in Greater London (32.7%) are the most likely to be stressed because of pressure of work. Those in the South West (20.6%) are the least stressed. In contrast, people in the North West are the most optimistic about life (68.5%) and would rather concentrate on their own lives rather on things they cannot control. During the course of ‘the working day’, the unemployed are happier than individuals in full-time employment. Contrastingly, once the working day is completed, the employed show greater levels of happiness.
TouchPoints is seen as the most ambitious piece of media research undertaken for a generation and will impact on how commercial communications are planned in the future. Its primary objective is to give communication strategists 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. It has been designed as a stand-alone survey and to be integrated with other media research currencies and surveys such as BARB and the NRS (June 2006). It also provides the first commercial benchmark for all media, including for the first time SMS, direct marketing and the Internet.
According to Lynne Robinson, the IPA’s Research Director, ‘The IPA TouchPoints Hub Survey is designed to act as a new and critical link in the channel planning chain which is long overdue and absolutely vital in today's multi-media world. It gives us a unique view of how media impacts our lives, how we spend our work and leisure time and what our prevailing attitudes are. The findings of the first TouchPoints Hub Survey confirm some things we already suspected: that families still like to spend time relaxing together in front of the television. But it's also given us some new thoughts: that although all age groups are embracing technology, it's the young who are absolutely wedded to it.’
The IPA (Institute of Practitioners in Advertising) is online at www.ipa.co.uk