Leo Burnett Proves Money doesn’t buy Happiness

July 29, 2008 at 10:50 am 1 comment

We recently did a global study on the relationship of money to happiness. It was international study in Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain, UAE, UK and the USA. Here is the press release for more information.

Findings from a global research project released reveal that despite a growing fixation with the rich and famous, people the world over associate the words ‘happiness’, ‘respect’ and ‘recognition’ with money far less than we might imagine.

‘Luxury’ in fact is the word most closely identified with money, with happiness coming far down on the list – suggesting that while we may chose to spend more in our quest for a high-end lifestyle, we know that money itself won’t bring us joy.

Further results from the 10-market study – carried out by advertising agency Leo Burnett and designed to capture insights into people’s evolving relationships with money – reveal a number of specific pointers worthy of note for global marketers: People in emerging markets are notably more financially confident about the next 12 months than those in the West.

It is not a given that the more money you have, the more comfortably-off you consider yourself – in fact respondents in China, for whom the average gross annual household income was less than 10,000 GBP, display the highest degree of comfort with their financial circumstances of respondents from any market.

Globally supermarkets are now more trusted than banks, insurers and credit card companies.

Although worldwide, “happiness” is only 10th out of 12 of the terms most closely associated with money, people in developing markets – with the exception of Russia – are more likely to associate money with happiness than Westerners. Three of the top four markets where people most frequently associate money with happiness are China, the UAE and Brazil. The same markets also associate money with “recognition.”

A meritocratic global economy is emerging as skills and intelligence are seen as the most important factors in determining how much money people will make in their lives, ahead of a person’s country of birth and family name

As with many areas of the survey, there are a number of market-specific differences in people’s feelings about credit. The Chinese view credit as a big help, and don’t worry about repayments. People in Brazil and Spain see it as a help, but do worry about it. Brits and Americans see credit as encouraging them to buy things they don’t need. Meanwhile, respondents from Germany and France are more likely than others to say that credit is dangerous and that they avoid using it whenever they can.

There seems to be a growing and shared recognition of “econology” – the close interrelationship between humanity, the economy and the environment. Respondents in eight out of the 10 markets surveyed consider climate change a threat to their personal financial security. Worldwide, climate change, on average, is considered a bigger threat to personal financial security than immigration, population growth or the growing influence of developing countries.

Tom Bernardin, Chairman and CEO of Leo Burnett Worldwide commented, “The findings are vital to marketers as it’s clear that whilst money may indeed make the world go around, the role of money in people’s lives is shifting over time and in significant ways. Money remains but an entity in which we store value, and it is understanding the value held therein that is critical if we’re to grasp people’s (consumer’s) aspirations and motivations correctly.”

Survey methodology: Close to 2000 people were interviewed in Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain, UAE, UK and the USA. Field work took place at the end of April 2008.


Entry filed under: humankind, Insights & Strategy. Tags: , , , .

Inconvenience Stores Waiting for the bus can be fun

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Moey  |  August 5, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    May I also add Kuwait.


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