New time use research will provide detailed insight into how consumers will live their lives in 2021 and beyond.

As ‘Super Saturday’ approaches, most consumers are anticipating a return to many of their old ways, but are they looking forward to resuming their old lives?  For many people the lockdown has had important benefits such as being able to spend more time with family while having to spend less money.  Few commuters mourn standing on a platform patiently awaiting the 07:52 to Waterloo or Waverley.  Headline after headline suggests that many consumers want to retain the better elements of a locked-down lifestyle.

It is inevitable that 100 days of lockdown will have changed the way consumers live and it’s vital to understand if these changes will be temporary or if life has changed irrevocably, leading to a very different 2021.  To answer this fundamental question, Trajectory is now running a comprehensive time use survey with University College London.   The project compares this period of lockdown to the way life was lived in 2016.  We’ll then run another wave of time use research in the autumn of this year to monitor how behaviours are changing as restrictions ease.  This will provide an early guide to how lives will be lived in the future.

Early results from the current wave of time use research (May 2020) indicate some significant changes in lifestyle.  For those working from home, the day starts earlier and finishes later so that the demands of home schooling and home working can be reconciled.  In 2016 the hours spent working either at home or in the office were much the same.  In lockdown, working from home has a different pattern – one often characterised by longer breaks.  Zoom calls are punctuated by household management and helping offspring towards an understanding of how to subtract fractions.  The working day loses definition as the boundaries between work and play dissolve.

This means that the moments in the day when consumers are receptive to brand messaging are changing; mealtimes are a moving feast, media consumption is up in the air and travel is terminated.  Understanding how consumers use their time provides an insight into their priorities.  This time use work will also provide foresight into how consumers will behave in 2021.

Trajectory is now seeking partners to sponsor this project.  There are several outputs from this work; detailed time use reports will be supported by trend analysis (to help understand the dynamics of change).  There will also be a workshop included, the purpose of which is to understand what the data and trends mean for your organisation.

If you would like to know more about this work, please contact us: