The 43-Hour Day and Family 2.0 in a Digital Age of Web 2.0 - Yahoo and OMD Study

Global families today are harnessing pervasive technology and media to help them manage busy households and achieve more balanced, satisfying lives, according to research released today by global Internet company Yahoo! Inc. and OMD - "It's a Family Affair: the Media Evolution of Global Families in a Digital Age". 

Nearly three quarters (73%) of families with children said it is important to eat dinner together each day. Eight out of 10 adults said they "enjoy spending time with their family." This number increases to nine out of 10 among those married with children.

The research also found that the average global family owns 11 technological devices (12 devices in the U.S.), creating concerns about information overload while enabling better communications:

  • 70% of global survey respondents agreed that technology allows them to stay in touch with family;
  • 29% of parents said that they use mobile phones to keep in touch with children throughout the day;
  • 25% of parents said instant messaging has helped improve relationships with their children.

The 43-Hour Day

How jam-packed is daily family life? In the U.S., respondents listed, on average, a total of more than 43 hours of daily activities: 

  • Spending time with family 4.5 hours 
  • Using the Internet 3.6 hours 
  • Working 6.4 hours 
  • Watching TV 2.5 hours 
  • Commuting 1.2 hours 
  • Using instant messenger 1 hour 
  • Spending time with friends 1.5 hours 
  • Emailing 1.2 hours 
  • Listening to radio 1.3 hours

In addition to enabling socializing, technology has become integral to routine family life. Two thirds (66%) of U.S. families surveyed use the Internet to research products, and 64% use a search engine every day. Families also use the Internet to share photos (62%), make travel reservations (60%) and research health (61%).

  • Approximately half of respondents said they rely primarily on television for news (50 percent) and comedy (43 percent). 
  • Magazines are a significant source for celebrity gossip and other niche content. 
  • Newspapers are viewed as a strong secondary source, after the Internet, for information with a local flavor such as jobs, sports, concerts and events.

Family 2.0

With only a third of U.S. online households (33%) today consisting of the once-typical husband, wife, and children, the Ozzie and Harriet era is long past. The family power structure is changing as a more open, democratic family emerges, roles and levels of influence change.

Reaching out to the whole family also is increasingly important. In the U.S., two thirds (66 percent) of survey respondents said the entire family influences purchases.

In the U.S., respondents reported that they were most open to ads in magazines and newspapers (72%), radio (60%) or TV (59%), and less receptive to ads on mobile phones or MP3 players. In addition, some media, such as TV (70%), movies (50%) and in some cases, the Internet (20%), are enjoyed together as a family, while other technologies are more likely to be experienced individually.

It's a Small - and Connected - World After All

With 718 million global Internet users (source: Media Metrix), technology is helping bring far flung corners of the world closer together. As this trend continues, relationships with people and businesses are affected.

The U.S. lags other global regions in mobile phone usage. Mexico and the United Kingdom have the highest adoption of DVRs, and Asia leads in MP3 player adoption. In China, 59% of survey respondents watch streaming video online versus 25% globally.

Methodology

The online survey was conducted with a total of 4,783 respondents aged 18+ in 16 countries in Asia, Europe, Australia and the Americas. Survey responses were collected during July and August 2006 via an online panel. Respondents are representative of Internet users in those areas, and may not reflect the overall population. 

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