Major Developing Markets Gloomier
Interestingly, despite the positive economic trends and potential seen in the world’s major developing markets, along with the economic difficulties faced in the more mature Western markets, middle class consumers in the former group appear to be generally more dissatisfied with their current situation and less optimistic about the potential for them to change their lives for the better.
For example, consumers in China and South Africa occupy both the unhappy and pessimistic end of the spectrum. And while Indian consumers are among the happier of the developing markets (still trailing the more mature Western markets), a majority of them feel resigned to their condition, making them the second-most pessimistic country after South Africa.
By contrast, US, UK, and German consumers all fall into the happy and optimistic category, with roughly two-thirds happy and less than 1 in 5 pessimistic about their ability to change their situation.
Research Differs on Countries’ Relative Happiness
A comparison of these findings with others from an Ipsos survey of global happiness released in February 2012 yields some interesting results. On the one hand, India ranks highly in the Ipsos survey among the 24 countries studied, with 89% of adults indicating they are at least rather happy. This aligns well with the Kantar Media results, which show India to be one of the happier developing markets.
On the other hand, the Ipsos study found adults in Turkey (87%) to be more likely to say they are rather or very happy than adults in the UK (79%), a finding which is very much at odds with the Kantar results, which has Turkey as the second unhappiest of the 10 markets, and the UK as the third happiest.
One reason for the discrepancy could be that Kantar was measuring happiness by standard of living, while Ipsos measured happiness in general. Also, the Kantar survey respondents were middle class consumers in their respective countries, while the Ipsos respondents were adults in general.
Developing Market Consumers Most Willing to Sacrifice Family for Career
Meanwhile, according to the Kantar Media survey results, the middle class in the major emerging markets are far more likely than those in the UK, US, and Germany to be willing to sacrifice their family time for the purpose of career ambition. Those in Egypt are the most willing, followed by those in China and South Africa.
In related research also released in June, 86% of American fathers today are spending more time with their children than their own fathers did in the previous generation, according to a survey conducted by the Ad Council. Even so, more than 8 in 10 fathers report feeling financial pressure as a result of their role as a father, with the slow economy and high unemployment rates among the biggest challenges to being an engaged father.