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More time spent eating and drinking is a window of opportunity for the trade

Published:  16 September, 2016

Despite leisure time being increasingly squeezed, consumers are devoting more and more time to eating and drinking, new data suggests.

Data from cross-media planning tool, TouchPoints, shows that our lives are getting busier, with people spending 22% more time at work than they did in 2005 - an increase of an hour and 12 minutes a day.

But two things consumers are making time for is eating and drinking, with 3 hours and 46 minutes on average a day spent wetting whistles and replenishing stomachs - despite there being less time for activities which are typically associated, such as relaxing and socialising.

The prevalence of alcohol consumption is higher in adults than millennials.

But while millennials drink less, on the occasions that they do, they consume alcohol for longer periods of time.

According to the data, 63% adults spend 1 hour 43 minutes drinking alcohol per day on the days that they drink, compared to 53% millennials who spend 1 hour 56 minutes drinking alcohol per day on the days that they drink.

With the ready to drink category and street food dining concepts popping up across London and elsewhere, this shift in the way consumers consume is filtering through to the on and off-trade.

Attention Spans

When it comes to messaging and marketing, those looking to grab consumers' attention are entering an increasingly fierce battlefield.

"Consumers' attention spans are down from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2016," Ben Page, chief exec of Ipsos Mori, said.

"There's a sense of growing complexity in the choices that people are faced with. Consumers are constantly presented with phone contracts, fitness memberships and a confusing array of FMCGs. The government took the step to automatically enroll people in pension schemes. Employees weren't signing up themselves because the process was too complex."

When it comes to getting clear and concise messaging across to consumers, we still haven't got things right, Page said.

Despite the recent innovations beginning to trickle through, this is a lesson that the wine industry - which is often criticised for alienating consumers - has yet to fully learn.

The data was introduced via the launch of TouchPoints 2016, from the Institute for Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), in London yesterday (September 15).

Jamie Cregan, planning director at MC&C, spoke about the importance of social media and highlighted its new status as the medium which makes consumers feel most relaxed - overtaking TV.

"Social media isn't passive like TV - it speaks to you one to one. It marks a change in the way consumers are engaging. They're responding to media which is private and active rather than TV advertising which is public and passive," Cregan said.

Interestingly, this doesn't just refer to millennials.

Consumers of all ages are increasingly responding to the power of social media and new technology.

Belinda Beeftink, deputy research director at the IPA, said: "One of the biggest changes we have seen over the past ten years has been the explosion of new devices that we use in all sorts of ways, not least to access our media content.

"It's hard to believe that ten years ago we didn't have iPhones or tablets. It just goes to show that the role of media consumption is becoming increasingly complex and difficult to understand."

But those who still feel caught in the "dinosaur trap" - a phrase used by top ad exec Cilla Snowball at the WSTA conference on Tuesday - social media isn't taking over just yet.

Currently, 66% of all media consumption is still offline.

And although the average time spent on email has soared to 2 hours and 21 minutes per day, face-to-face interaction still accounts for the lion's share at 8 hours and 13 minutes a day.

Cregan concluded: "The world has yet to go completely digital. Social media isn't the only game."