Modernity doesn’t equate to progress for a large proportion of consumers across the world, finds Euro RSCG Worldwide in a survey of more than 7,000 adults in 19 countries. Comparing results from mainstream consumers and “prosumers” (those who are leading-edge, making up 16% of the sample), the survey finds that 62% of prosumers and 59% of mainstream consumers believe that in many ways society is moving in the wrong direction. More than 7 in 10 prosumers, who Euro RSCG suggest are leading indicators of what the mainstream consumers will be thinking and doing in the near future, and roughly two-thirds of mainstream consumers, say they worry about society’s loss of connection to the natural world and about society’s loss of authenticity.
This finding is somewhat at odds with February 2012 survey results from Ipsos, which found that 77% of the 18,687 adults surveyed in 24 countries say they are happy in their lives, with 22% reporting being very happy. This is up from 20% in 2007 who reported being very happy, but down from a high of 26% in March and April 2010.
Many Concerned With Moral Decline
Data from Euro RSCG’s “This Digital Life” suggests that many consumers are concerned with the perceive erosion of the rules and social mores that were more prevalent in earlier generations, and this manifests itself on the basis of respondents’ age. For example, 64% of respondents aged over 55 say they are concerned about society’s loss of formality and rise of “casual everything,” though this drops to 58% among those aged 18-34. Similarly, while 53% of the older group say they are concerned society’s loss of religious faith, and about the lack of clear gender roles, 48% of the younger set feels the same way about each.
Respondents of all ages feel strongest about society’s moral decline: 79% of those aged over 55, three-quarters of those aged 35-54, and two-thirds of 18-34-year-olds said they are concerned about moral decline.
Most Feel Role Models Disappearing
The loss of trusted role models may be to blame for many consumers’ feelings of being adrift in the modern world. 79% of the over 55 group said they are concerned about society’s loss of trusted leaders and role models, with 71% of the 35-54 set and 65% of the 18-34 group agreeing. Similarly, most consumers are worried about society’s loss of extended family and “village elders,” with concern highest among the over 55 group (63%) and lowest among 18-34-year-olds (57%).
More than 4 in 5 of those over 55, and two-thirds of 18-34-year-olds, said they are concerned about society’s loss of respect for elders.
- 63% of respondents said they are concerned with the loss of nuclear families and rise in single-parent homes, with females (65%), prosumers (65%), and those over 55 (71%) more likely than the average to indicate this worry.
- 70% of consumers over 55 say they worry that today’s children aren’t being given enough of a chance to just be kids. The proportion falls to 66% among 35-54-year-olds, and 58% among 18-34-year-olds.
- A majority of consumers across all age groups, but highest among those over 55, said that they worry about society’s loss of civility, and that people are losing the ability to engage in civil debate. A majority are also concerned with the rise in political and religious extremism and about the rise in paranoia and conspiracy theories.
- Concern regarding the loss of respect for leaders varies significantly on a geographical basis. For example, while a majority of respondents in Brazil, Colombia, Hungary, and India said they are very or extremely concerned about the loss of respected leaders, less than one-third of respondents in the Czech Republic, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, and the UK felt the same way.
About the Data: The Euro RSCG Worldwide data is based on an online survey conducted by Market Probe International of 7,213 adults online in 19 countries: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, South Africa, the UK, and the US.
The Ipsos data is from a survey of respondents from Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the US. An international sample of 18,687 adults aged 18-64 in the US and Canada, and age 16-64 in all other countries, were interviewed between November 1st and 15th, 2011. Approximately 1000+ individuals participated on a country by country basis with the exception of Argentina, Indonesia, Mexico, Poland, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Russia and Turkey, where each have a sample of 500+.