With so much of today’s technology designed to make lives easier, time is more fleeting than ever. A new study by ad agency Allen & Gerritsen takes a deep dive into consumers’ relationship with time, revealing that 57 percent of those surveyed indicated that they rarely have time to relax.
What’s causing all this stress? In many ways, it’s that same life-simplifying technology.
According to the research, 42 percent feel that having a smartphone has taken time away from them—yet the same number (42 percent) feel anxious when they leave their smartphone at home, while another 28 percent feel irritated.
To add further confusion, when asked “Is time or money more important to you?” the majority answered “time” (64 percent)—but when asked “Which do you wish you had more of?” the majority answered “money” (58 percent).
“We used to say time is money. These days, time may be far more valuable. But it’s complicated,” said Brian Babineau, chief strategy and engagement officer at Allen & Gerritsen, in a news release. “Marketers need to think beyond if a brand is worth spending a certain amount of money and ask if their brand is worth spending precious time.”
The heart of the disconnect
According to the study, which utilized primary and secondary research, the time-obsessed consumer is becoming more savvy with their time, but as consumers hone their time-filtering skills, their attention span gets smaller and smaller. As our beloved screens were designed to save time, they are also optimized to waste it, employing psychological levers to keep us busy doing a whole lot of nothing.
In turn, consumers are adapting to unconsciously prioritize moments most meaningful to them asking the questions “Is this the best use of my time?”, “What am I missing out on by doing this right now?” and “How is this activity positively contributing to my goals?”
“We all have to adjust to a market where the second is soaring,” said Babineau. “Time is in high demand, but there is never enough. As Time is the New Currency, it’s time we think more critically about the time we spend creating content and experiences that waste our customers’ time.”