What’s £1 Worth?

August 22, 2017 - 4 minute read

What’s £1 Worth?

Seems like a silly question really. A £1 is a £1 of course - no more, no less.

what's £1 worth?.jpgBut how much of your time is it worth? Now this is an entirely different question, but one raised recently by Jonathan Margolis, a journalist for the Financial Times, who got a coin stuck in his shopping trolley.

This prompted him to reach out to us at Attest, because he wondered how the rest of the UK would react. How long would they wait to get £1 back?

To find the answer based on real input from across the UK, we ran a survey to a nationally representative sample of 1,000 UK consumers and sent over the results.

You can see his full article here in the FT.

Here are some of the other interesting findings digging deeper into the results.

Binary split: Time is more precious than money… except for ‘the 17%’.

50% of people surveyed would not even wait two minutes to retrieve their pound coin from a shopping trolley; with a further 26% not willing to wait more than 5 minutes.

This means 76% of Brits are valuing their time at more than £12.00 per hour (those not willing to wait a minute are placing a value of £60 per hour on their time).

The National Living Wage is currently £7.50 for those aged over 25, which means 3/4 of the UK are valuing their time at 60% above the living wage, while 50% would need to be on an annual wage of at least £62,400 to justify their unwillingness to wait even 2 minutes for their money back.

However at the other end of the spectrum, a full 17% will wait 'as long as it takes', which probably can’t be justified on any economic terms, meaning it can only be explained as being motivated on principle.

u30 males, Yorkshire and Midlands quickest to walk away

Those least likely to give their £1 a second thought, being unwilling to wait even a minute, are more likely to work in London, the North East or Wales; while those willing to wait just 1-2 minutes were most likely to work in the South West, East, North West or East Midlands.

Diving even deeper, males under 30 working in London and the South East were 59% more likely than the average population to not be willing to wait a minute. However they are a very polarised group, with a quarter being 47% more likely to wait as long as it takes.

Those in Yorkshire and Humber and the West Midlands were also more likely to be willing to wait as long as it takes.

It’s no surprise that actually income has a big factor on willingness to wait.

For those with a household income of £75k and above, they were 88% more likely to wait less than a minute for their pound back. Which is actually still not justifiable. £1 per minute equates to an annual income of £124,800 (assuming 8 hour days, 5 day weeks, 52 weeks a year).

How rationally do we value our time-.png

It just goes to show how bad we can be at calculating the actual value of our time.

On the other end of the spectrum, those earning less than £15,000 a year were 41% more likely to be willing to wait as long as it takes.

UK population: full of surprises.

Economists love to treat people as rational, predictable economic animals. This research shows just how bad we are at rationally valuing our time, with the vast majority of people willing to pay a premium for their time.

how we value time.png

We’ve talked through this research with several clients. Before showing the results, we asked senior Marketers, Innovators and Business Directors to guess how the UK population would react on this issue. In short, nobody was even close… the best guesses about how people will respond were wildly wrong.

The moral of the story? Whenever you’re guessing, stop and think. It’s highly unlikely that you’re going to be right (or even close). As the FT put it: “There is clearly a complex emotional relationship with coinage, which transcends logic”. Don’t guess, test.

Test your assumptions with UK consumers today.

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