Pages Navigation Menu

Key Findings July/August 2010

Living Green Working Adults Hit by Recession Employers Seek Ways to Trim Healthcare Costs
Affluents’ Financial Concerns About Retirement Mobile News Followers Businesses Using Social Media Networks for Hiring
Wireless-only Households Blacks’ Radio Listening Habits Women Seeking Health Advice Online
Hispanics Online Cross Platform Video Viewers Recession Affecting Workers’ Views
Government Policies Since the 2008 Recession Began Hispanics and Herbal Remedy Traditions Consumers Are Willing to Change Energy Habits

Living Green

Some nine in 10 Americans (90%) include some level of environmentally friendly habits into their daily lives, while fewer than one in 10 (9%) are now completely green.

Of those who live fully green lives, only 38% are doing so primarily to improve the environment. Other reasons include wanting to live a better quality of life (37%), doing good for their community (35%), wanting to make a difference (33%), and to set an example for others (32%).

Aspirational greens (68%) are more likely to believe eco-friendly claims in advertising, compared to only 58% of completely greens and 32% of those who are not green at all.

Affluents’ Financial Concerns About Retirement

A slight majority of retired affluent Americans (51%) – those with investable assets of at least $250,000 – say they would have focused more on their life goals and less on amassing a specific dollar amount for their nest egg if they could go through their working years all over again.

Almost one-third (31%) worked with a financial adviser when planning their retirement. Of these, 55% say they wished they had started working with their financial adviser sooner than they did.

Financial Concerns About Retirement, Affluent Retirees vs. Affluent Non-retired, 2009

Wireless-only Households

Almost one-quarter of households (22.7%) are wireless-only – meaning they do not have a landline phone – as of June 2009. Another 14.7% have landlines but get most calls on their wireless phones.

Hispanics Online

The online Hispanic population has an average age of 37, compared to the general online population’s average age of 46. They also have a smaller income ($50,000 vs. $75,000) and have more, and younger, children in contrast to the general population.

Their relative youth may explain why Hispanics are more likely than the general population to go online via mobile phones (32% vs. 20%) and gaming devices (18% vs. 11%). Online Hispanics are also more likely than the general online American population to view the Internet as:

Hispanics Online

Government Policies Since the 2008 Recession Began

A recent Pew Research poll shows that Americans feel there are clear winners and losers from the economic policies the government has implemented since the recession began in 2008. Some 74% say that U.S. government policies over the past two years have done a great deal (53%) or a fair amount (21%) to help large banks and financial institutions. Majorities also say that large corporations (70% great deal/fair amount) and wealthy people (57% great deal/fair amount) were helped. The following chart provides additional details.

Working Adults Hit by Recession

The recession – which destroyed 20% of Americans’ wealth – has directly hit more than one-half of America’s working adults, pushing them into unemployment, pay cuts, reduced hours at work or part-time jobs, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

Some 35% of working adults age 62 and older say they have postponed retirement. In addition, six in 10 between ages 50 and 61 say they may be forced to do the same. In the meantime, one-half of the survey respondents say they have made smaller payments towards their mortgages, credit card balances, car loans and other borrowing.

Four in 10 adults say they have taken money from their savings and retirement accounts to get by financially. Others have gotten help from friends and family. Almost one-quarter say they have borrowed money from someone. And one in 10 – including 24% of workers from 18 to 29 years old – reveal they moved back in with their parents to ride out the economic storm.

The recession may bring about some new lifestyle changes since nearly one-half of  respondents say they plan to save more; nearly a third state they plan to spend less and 30% plan to borrow less.

Mobile News Followers

Some 53% of Americans have wireless access to the Internet through a laptop, cell phone or PDA. Of those with online access via their cell phone, 88% get news on their phones.

The most common items they access are:

  • Check weather reports (72%)
  • Get news and current events information (68%)
  • Download an application that allows them to access news, weather, and sports information on their phones (49%)
  • Check sports scores and information (44%)
  • Get financial information or updates (32%)
  • Get news alerts by text or email on their phones

Source: “Online News Survey,” Pew Internet & American Life Project, 2010

Blacks’ Radio Listening Habits

Over all, more than 90% of Black Americans aged 12 and older listen to the radio. Time spent listening is an average of 16 hours a week, 45 minutes more than the average American. And, the older they are, the more time Blacks spend listening to the radio.

Most say their listening time is away from home between 6 a.m and midnight (6.6 hours per week) compared to at home (4.3 hours per week).

Black Audience Radio Station Format Preferences, By Location, 2009

Cross Platform Video Viewers

While two-thirds of Americans (66%) are TV set-only viewers and 6% watch only online, some 29% watch video both online and on TV sets. This dual viewing habit is called cross-platform.

Cross-platform video viewers are mostly age 35-49 (32%), followed by those ages 25-34 (30%), ages 18-24 (24%), ages 50-64 (13%) and those 65 years and older (2%).

Viewers say they prefer to watch certain genres on TV including sports (52%), news (42%), drama (49%), and comedy (44%). However, they don’t care which medium is used for lifestyle (49%), celebrity (50%) or reality programs (50%).

The reasons cross-platform viewers decide to watch video online include missing an episode on TV (71%), it is convenient (57%), it has fewer ads (38%), they like to watch past episodes (25%), they prefer the online experience (13%), and they do not subscribe to cable or do not have a TV (2%).

Women Seeking Health Advice Online

Women are twice as likely to seek help online (62%) as to ask their mothers (32%) for advice about non-serious health issues. Most (82%) say they are uncomfortable discussing health concerns or questions with friends or family members, and 59% report it is embarrassing to talk about health problems with people they know.

More than one-half of women (53%) have discussed a health question with an online community, with 30% of these saying this kind of support helps them prepare for the doctor’s visit.

Hispanics and Herbal Remedy Traditions

According to AARP Viva, 62% of Hispanics ages 45 and older use herbal remedies or supplements, and 55% plan to pass on this cultural tradition to their children.

More than four in 10 Hispanics in this age group (42%) use supplements at least once per month, with 16% using them daily. Interestingly, 70% of those who take supplements are not discussing this with their doctor.

Employers Seek Ways to Trim Healthcare Costs

Employers are planning various strategies to trim their healthcare costs while simultaneously maintaining a competitive health benefits package.

In the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) 2010 employee benefits report, 72% of the 534 HR professionals surveyed said that the benefits offerings at their organization have been affected in some way over the past year. In total, the average cost for health care per employee was $7,038 in 2009. Larger organizations spend $8,026 per employee compared with $6,706 and $6,775 for small and midsized organizations.

The Hewitt research shows that total health care costs (including employer cost, employee payroll contributions and employee out-of-pocket expenses) have skyrocketed in a decade, from $4,793 in 2001 to $11,058 in 2010. And, they are expected to continue increasing by 9 percent in 2011, which is 0.5 percent slower than the 2010 growth rate, per a recent report by PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP.

The PriceWaterhouseCoopers survey lists these changes that employers intend to make to their benefit plans next year:

  • 67% intend to expand or improve wellness programs
  • 42% plan to increase employee contributions for health
  • 41% expect to increase medical cost-sharing (including higher deductibles and co-pays); and
  • 26% intend to increase prescription drug cost-sharing

Businesses Using Social Media Networks for Hiring

A June 2010 survey by Jobvite shows that online job boards and third-party search firms are now in less demand due to companies’ increasing use of social media to search for new employees.

Nearly three-quarters of companies surveyed are now using social networks for recruiting, and 58.1% said they had successfully hired a candidate found through a social network.

LinkedIn was used by almost 80% of companies recruiting through social media. Some 90% of companies who had hired through a social network reported that they found the candidate on LinkedIn. While Facebook and Twitter were used to recruit new hires by 55% and 45% of companies, respectively, they resulted in far fewer hires: 27.5% for Facebook and 14.2% for Twitter.

Recession Affecting Workers’ Views

A slight majority of workers (51%) say they would switch careers if given the opportunity. Generation Xers especially feel this way, with 56% wishing for a different profession. Two in 10 Generation Xers affected by the recession say they are thinking about going back to school.

Some 7% of workers say the recession has positively affected the management team at their workplace, down from 9% in 2009. One in 10 (10%) appreciate their boss more as a result of the recession, down from 16% in 2009.

Today, 39% of workers appreciate their job overall in light of the recession, down from 55% in 2009. This is reflected in the attitude that only 17% are willing to work harder to avoid layoffs (down from 20% in 2009) and only 19% are willing to work longer hours (down from 21%).

Retirement On Hold for Older Workers

The most common reason workers over age 60 are putting off retirement (72%) is because they can’t afford to stop working, according to CareerBuilder. Women (76%) are more likely than men (68%) to postpone retirement for financial reasons.

Other reasons include:

  • They enjoy their job and work environment and don’t want to leave (71%)
  • They need the health insurance and additional benefits provided by their employers (50%)
  • They fear being bored in retirement (24%)
  • They enjoy feeling needed at work (15%)

Consumers Are Willing to Change Energy Habits

Eight in 10 U.S. consumers (79%) say they’re ready to make short-term changes in their energy use habits to gain longer-term benefits, according to a national survey commissioned by GE. Some 72% of respondents believe that, if left unchanged, today’s energy sources and consumption habits could hurt the country’s economic growth. And 63% said they’re willing to work with their power companies to help bring about changes in consumption patterns. The majority of respondents (88%) are willing to use devices like smart meters if they could help better manage their energy use.

Of those surveyed, 70% said they would rather see their power companies spend money to make existing infrastructure more efficient than invest in new power-generating plants. It’s interesting to note that little has been invested in the US electrical grid system over the past 25 years, and most current generation stations were built in the 1960s or earlier using even older technology.

Respondents expressed support for smarter appliances, meters and smart-grid technology for the following reasons:

  • Desire to save money  (95%)
  • Increased control over energy bills (90%)
  • Desire to make a difference for children or grandchildren (88%)
  • Help to reduce the number of power outages (86%)
  • Environmental concerns (85%)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *