Does being connected affect our mood?

Havas' latest Prosumer Report shows how the digital-savvy are more likely to be stressed by the pace of modern life.

While living in a connected world is affecting the ways consumers approach their travel and leisure time, it’s also making them feel more anxious about the pace of living, according to the latest Havas Worldwide Prosumer Report. And those effects seem to be more pronounced the more connected and digitally engaged they are.

The report surveyed 10,131 people in 28 markets, including Canada. As with past Prosumer Reports, the results were divided up between “mainstream” consumers (representing 80% of the sample) and “prosumers,” or those that are ahead of trends and more digitally connected and savvy.  The report’s finding suggest that these “prosumers” are more likely to experience anxiety about the effects of always being connected in a fast-paced world, even though they are also more likely to recognize these effects ahead of time and even strive to be part of this lifestyle.

Prosumers believe being on the go leads to more interesting lives (65%, versus 50% of mainstream consumers) and more likely to admire others who are on the go (62%, versus 49% of the mainstream), even though they are more likely to acknowledge that people always on the go miss out on important parts of life (56%, versus 49%) and nearly half say they wish they were able to slow down. They are also more likely to believe the pace of their life is affecting their health (56% versus 47%), that their life would be better if they relaxed more (71% versus 58%) and to feel like they needed a long vacation (42% versus 30%). Mainstream consumers also find it easier to sit down and relax (52%, versus 45% of prosumers) while prosumers were more likely (55% versus 48%) to say attempts to relax were often interrupted by thinking of things they should be doing instead.

These concerns extended to their children, with 84% of prosumers and 73% of the mainstream saying they were worried that kids today feel more connected to online places than physical ones.

When they did manage to find downtime, prosumers were more likely to spend it doing leisure activities they feel like they miss out on during the work week (53% versus 44%), while mainstream consumers were more likely to want to catch up on chores (31%, versus 28%) or relax at home doing nothing (26% versus 19%).

These feelings, however, seem not to impact the way the most connected among us view the productivity of themselves and others. While 68% of prosumers said their lives would be better if they were more productive (56% of mainstream consumers) and 73% said people waste too much time both at work and in their personal lives, they were also more likely than the mainstream to feel they procrastinate (32%, versus 29% of the mainstream) and waste too much time (29%, versus 27%).

Prosumers were also more likely to be annoyed when others moved slowly (62% versus 51%) and to name the simple act of waiting as one of the things they hate most in life (62% versus 58%).

Prosumers were more likely to feel that technology made them more productive (57%) than less (8%) or equally productive (36%), compared to 44%, 13% and 43% of mainstream consumers who said the same.

The report also looked at the results and divided each market into one of three categories, based on their overall attitudes towards the pace of living today. Canada, along with the U.K., U.S., France, Germany, Netherlands and Czech Republic, were placed into the “entrenched” category, meaning the fast pace of life is being accepted, with consumers looking for ways to adapt to it, instead of viewing it as a threat.

The report also looked at the travel sector, where the fast pace of life seems to have resulted in travel becoming the preferred form of leisure activity. This is especially true among prosumers, with 81% saying travel was one of the great joys of their life, compared to 64% of mainstream consumers. They are also more likely (79% versus 71%) to feel that travelling is a greater source of knowledge than books or conversations. The internet and apps have also made travelling easier, according to 87% of prosumers and 71% of mainstream consumers.

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