Week 32: Health, wealth and happiness

Middle aged men are responsible for a drop in morale this week. By Doug Edmonds, managing director, 2CV

Doug Edmonds
Doug Edmonds

The well-being index only drops by 2 points this week, registering at 42. Whilst this may suggest a period of stability across the nation, fluctuations amongst subgroups indicate an uncertain outlook.

Following last week’s boost in happiness, this week sees a sharp decrease of 20% and the worst financial report since the index began.

The drop in morale is being driven by middle-aged men this week, who register the most notable decrease. Just 28% of those questioned in the middle age band are happy; a staggering 20 point decrease from last week. Following months of build up, perhaps the poor performance and early departure of England from the World Cup is responsible for the downbeat mood of the nation.

Interesting to note is the difference in happiness levels between the sexes. Fifty-four per cent of women questioned are happy this week, in contrast to 37% of men. As the figures indicate, perhaps the recent disappointments in the World Cup and Wimbledon are having a greater effect on the morale of men rather than women. Marketers should take note of this gap and ensure they don’t neglect the male consumer in their communications.

Unsurprisingly, the nation’s attitude towards finances remains unsteady, with each week bringing more news of government spending cuts – this is clearly contributing to the feeling of unease amongst many. Yet again, it is the middle aged group with most to worry about, with only 12% of those questioned feeling financially stable; the lowest figure ever recorded. The male demographic is also feeling the strain, with 19% claiming to be financially content. With recent announcements claiming an additional £1 billion of spending cuts are on the way, the concern is understandable.

Here are the results by each demographic:

Young people
Whilst predictions suggested that the World Cup would have a substantial affect on the well-being of the younger generation, 52% questioned remain happy this week, indicating that it had little lasting effect. In contrast, 23% of 16 to 34 year olds questioned are financially satisfied. With recent reports claiming that graduate unemployment rate has risen to 25%, financial uncertainty amongst this group is understandable. Health levels climb back this week, registering at 58%, making 16 to 34 year olds the healthiest group.

Middle-aged band
Substantial drops across all aspects indicate the middle aged group continue to carry the weight of the nation’s worries this week. Health and wealth remain unstable, registering further drops to 34% and 12% respectively. In addition to this, the poor performance of the national team at the World Cup brings further woes, contributing to the staggering 20 point drop in happiness levels of those questioned. Marketers will be aware that this downward shift brings frustrating times ahead. Whilst 35 to 54 year olds have the greatest disposable income, their concerns for the future make them the most challenging consumer to engage with at present.

Grey market
In contrast to the other demographics, the older generation has a positive outlook this week, with exactly half feeling content in terms of well-being. As the happiest (57%) and most financially stable (32%), they appear to be least affected by recent national disappointments, compared with the other age groups. Health levels are also on the rise, with exactly two fifths of those questioned feeling the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

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