April 26th, 2012 by Leonard Klie

Research released today by IPA has found we are bigger couch potatoes than ever, spending more time at home and multitasking our media consumption. Apparently the recession and new developments in technology are to blame for the sedentary way in which we are spending our daily lives.

According to the research, which tracked the activities of 5,567 people in Great Britain every half hour for a week, people today are spending less time working, shopping, and socializing and more time at home (currently 17 hours and 30 minutes a day, which is up 20 minutes from 2010 and 30 minutes from 2008). Of that, we are spending an increasing amount of time, almost 1 hour and 30 minutes a day, doing nothing in particular. This is up 13 minutes from 2010 and 26 minutes from 2008.

People today are spending 29 minutes a day shopping, down from 44 minutes a day in 2008 and 38 minutes a day in 2010. Most purchases (57 percent) are low-value items (the survey mentions 20 pounds or less), and 4 percent are online.

Other shopping statistics include the following:

• Cash is still the dominant method of payment and only one in 100 people say they use new tap-and-go technology in a month.

• Fifty-seven percent claim to have tightened their belts significantly, up from 53 percent in 2010, and 73 percent say if they want something expensive, they would rather save up for it than put it on their credit cards.

• An increasing number of adults say they look for the lowest prices (67 percent, up from 59 percent in 2010); they shop around to take advantage of special offers (68 percent, up from 62 percent in 2010); and price is the most important factor in choosing a product or service (43 percent, up from 39 percent in 2010).

When it comes to our media consumption, we are increasingly watching television online and using our mobile devices more to access the Internet. The percentage of adults using two or more media in the same half hour (called double-screening) has risen from 76 percent in 2010 to 79 percent in 2012. Nearly half of all adults and three quarters of those between the ages of 15 and 24 say they surf the Internet on their laptops while watching TV. One in five adults and two in five 15- to 24-year-olds watch one program online while watching another on TV.

New technology is also expanding the social interaction around television. Six percent of all adults like to be able to chat online about what they are viewing; this rises to 17 percent for teens and young adults.

Thirty-nine percent of all adults and 59 percent of teens and young adults use their mobile phones to access the Internet, up from 16 percent and 34 per respectively in 2010.

Nine percent of adults use a tablet computer at least once a month.

Twenty-nine percent of adults watch online TV and videos each week (compared to 20 percent in 2010), each for an average 18 minutes a day, an increase of four minutes a day. Ten percent of all adults listen to live radio through an app.

This research presents a treasure trove of opportunity for marketers and advertisers in particular.  If you’re looking to hit me with your advertising messages, I’ll be in front of the TV, on the computer, or both. That’s where your messages need to be as well.

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