In a fast-paced world where time is at a premium, more than 80% of American and British adults say they would pay extra for a brand that is a time-saver, according to a new study published by US-based advertising agency JWT.
According to the study, marketers are beginning to weigh up the 'time' cost or benefit of their products and services, as well as the monetary cost.
"The question many consumers are asking is 'can I afford the time?' rather than 'can I afford the expense?'," explained JWT Worldwide's CEO, Bob Jeffrey. "More and more, we'll see consumers demanding a valid and persuasive reason they should invite brands into their tightly scheduled lives."
The research found that Americans and Britons still want to spend a significant amount of time watching television (an average of 145 minutes in the evening and 40 minutes in the morning), even though 40% claim to be "time poor".
The key findings from the US and UK parts of the study included:
- TV consumption still figures in consumers' allocation of time.
- American men, on average, consider 130 minutes the ideal time spent watching TV in the evening, with another 30 minutes in the morning.
- Women in the US are even more TV minded, opting for 151 and 59 minutes, respectively. In the UK, both men and women would opt for around 150 minutes of TV in the evening and around 35 minutes in the morning.
- Fully 83% of American men and 85% of American women would pay extra for a brand that's a time-saver, while 78% of British men and 77% of British women would spend even more.
- How people perceive time is more important than what the clock shows. For instance, the time a customer feels he or she has spent in a queue, on an aircraft, or at a resort is more important than how much time he or she has actually spent.
- Time perceptions differ between countries and cultures. Two weeks away from work may seem like too much time for go-getter Americans, while in Continental Europe, two weeks count as just half a summer vacation for many people.
- For many middle-class people, time is becoming almost as much a factor as money; for wealthier people, time is a much more significant factor than money.
- Given a straight choice between describing oneself as Cash Rich or Time Rich, far more people in both the US and the UK describe themselves as Time Rich. As tight as time may be, wallets are feeling even lighter. Nevertheless, substantial minorities claim to be Time Poor: 44% of American men, 41% of American women, and 37% of British men and women. People under age 40 are substantially more likely to feel Time Poor than are people 40 and over.
- A lot of people are attributing their poor physical shape to lack of time. Overall, 38% of US men, 39% of US women, 35% of UK men, and 45% of UK women agree they would be in better shape if they had more time. This perception is markedly higher among the under-40s than those 40+.
- Paradoxically, 31% of US men, 40% of US women, 26% of UK men, and 33% of UK women think they would be more organised if they had more time - which is a little like thinking they would eat less if they were thinner!
"What JWT's study on time has shown is that brands have to be proactive in helping people increase the amount of time - or at least the perceived amount of time - they are spending on things that are productive, rewarding, and enjoyable," concluded Jeffrey. "A significant majority of the survey respondents said they would spend extra for products that prove to be time savers, and almost as many said they'd pay a premium for products that reduce stress."
The study, entitled 'Time: The New Currency', is also soon to be extended into other countries. This latest edition surveyed a random and representative sample of 1,003 Americans and 1,005 Britons to get their perspective on time. Conducted online by Market Probe International during the second week of January 2005, the research has a margin of error of less than 3.2%.