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Satisfaction with leisure time: a new national divide?

by Amanda Martin , 18.08.2015

The busy pace of life is a popular complaint for many people, but there are notable differences between countries. Russia and Japan have the highest percentage of people actively unhappy with the amount of leisure time they get - while Americans, Canadians and British have the highest percentage who are satisfied.

Across all 22 countries surveyed, well over half (58 percent) of people say they are completely or fairly satisfied with the amount of leisure time that they have. Only 18 percent are unhappy in total, including 4 percent who are not at all satisfied with their amount of leisure time. The remaining quarter (24 percent) are neutral on the topic.

But in Russia, nearly a third (31 percent) is not at all satisfied, or not too satisfied – closely followed by Japan (30 percent) and Brazil (28 percent). In the USA, almost seven out of ten (69 percent) say they are completely or fairly satisfied with their leisure time - despite having famously few days of personal holiday allowance per year. And they are closely followed by people in the UK and Canada (67 percent each), Belgium and Germany (66 percent each).

What do businesses do with this information?

The concept of ‘leisure time’ undoubtedly varies from culture to culture and even from person to person. Nevertheless, people’s satisfaction with their amount of leisure time – however they perceive that - delivers comparable insights across nations.

Any company that offers products or services which focus on people’s leisure and relaxation time should now be reaching for the ‘download the full findings’ button. Because understanding your audiences’ frustrations is the first step in tailoring your marketing, so that it resonates most strongly with each target group.

For example: people who are dissatisfied with their amount of leisure time are the ideal audience for products or services that help make the most of limited free time, or for activities that can be tailored to fit around irregular periods of leisure. Short breaks (up to 3 nights away) fit this field perfectly – and the appetite for these is clear.

Taking Germany as an example, their ‘short break’ market grew 12-13 percent last year (2014 versus 2013), compared to leisure trips in total, which only grew 6 percent. But could this be increased even further if the advertising is focused more directly at the younger age groups who show higher percentages dissatisfied with their amount of leisure time (24 percent of 15-19 year olds and 22 percent of 20-29 year olds).  Something to think about, at least.

Download the full findings on ‘satisfaction with leisure time

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