The Remarkable Resilience of Well-Being

22nd Aug, 2014

Across Europe, even as the economic narrative returns to talk of a lost-decade, in the face of bleak GDP, employment and inflation data, broad measures of well-being remain remarkably robust. This provides striking testimony to human resilience but also to our adaptability as individuals.

Data from Eurobarometer  (page T1) shows that 75% of Europeans are very or fairly satisfied with their life overall. Of course, and as you would expect, there are outliers within this story – only 38% of the Portuguese and 42% of Greeks share this life satisfaction (compared to 91% in the UK).

An important driver of subjective well-being is of course our individual sense of choice and control – a key aspect of our Compromised Consumer audience segment.

This can sometimes feel like an esoteric construct, but recent research shows how the degree of parental choice and control can have an impact on children – through to GCSE exam performance.  The potential long-term impact of growing up in a recession hit environment is an area that we will discuss at next Trends Breakfast  looking at the realities of Generation Y today.

It is also important to consider the role of consumer technologies in supporting choice and control and also in terms of overall well-being.  Promoting digital literacy is a key area of consideration in growing the empowered consumer base in the UK and Europe but also in addressing the alarming skills gap that threatens the growth of the digital economy.

While consumer technologies are no panacea for our economic circumstances they play a positive role in promoting individual well-being, an important role in consumer empowerment and a central role in the future of the UK economy.

But let’s not forget our core human strengths in terms of resilience and adaptability, and the central importance of human relationships – after all the best technology applications are those that are built on psychological and social insights.