puzzle pieces

Fact, fiction or both?

Working in marketing you often read or hear bold statements about what people do and don’t do now, or how things have changed forever. It’s always worth being sceptical of any blanket statement about how things have changed for everyone.

The truth about how people really behave, or think, is often far more interesting than these black and white statements. It’s also always far more powerful and effective as a basis for your marketing.

Using YouGov Profiles data we can have a dig into some claims you might have heard and see if they are fact, fiction, or more likely, a bit of both.

No one watches live TV anymore.

Fiction. Plus a bit of fact. 63% of the UK population say they watch at least 6 hours of live TV a week.

But, 56% watch at least 6 hours of on demand TV every week. Of course, that adds up to more than 100% so a number of people are doing both. So, live TV is far from dead, but it’s definitely not the only game in town.

All young people use TikTok these days

Fiction…mainly. Looking at people aged 18-25, 33% of them have a TikTok account.

That’s far from all of them but it’s a sizable chunk; especially compared to the 8% of people over 25 who use the platform. At least for now though, TikTok lags a way behind the number of under 25s on Facebook (73%), Instagram (74%), Snapchat (64%) and even Twitter (50%).

People just want to shop online now.

Fiction…and also fact. Less than half (45%) of people say that they prefer to shop online rather than in store.

But…68% of people say that online shopping makes their life easier, 66% will ‘happily switch shops for greater speed and convenience’ and 64% of people have shopped with Amazon in the last year. The catch is that, at the moment, online shopping can’t give people everything they want from a retail experience. The most common reason for going to a physical shop is being able ‘to touch and feel products before I buy them’.

People won’t pay more for ‘green’ products and services.

Fact…and also fiction. 49% of people agree that ‘it costs too much to be green all the time’, 34% disagree (the rest aren’t sure).

But then again, less than half of people (43%) agree they are unwilling to pay more for sustainable energy, 71% agree that ‘green energy is the future’ and most people (54%) say that they ‘like when companies have a moral message’.

It’s crucial to know what the data say about how people behave now, in order to inform our decisions in the moment. This does change over time, but not in a uniform way. As William Gibson put it ‘the future is already here, it’s just not very evenly distributed’.