24-Hours: Where Does The Time Go? [Infographic]

This week the U.S. Department of Labor released their annual time-use survey for 2010. Based on annual research that has been conducted over many years, this site provides a rich repository of information on how American's spend their time.

The staff at CreditLoan.com who have developed many interesting economics infographics for their site collaborated with me to develop an infographic reflecting these latest government figures.

From the data, customers spend a fraction of time buying goods and services. The average amount of time that people spend shopping (online, phone, retail) is 28 minutes per day--that's less than 3% of waking hours. This is similar to my findings from prior years' data. Perhaps what is most surprising is that this figure has not changed significantly since the mid-1960's when time-use was first reported.

Consumer Goods Purchases (including regular purchases of food and gas, and researching purchases) constitute 22 minutes of the 28 shopping minutes. Professional services including personal care, financial services and household services average six minutes. Confirming that women make more consumer buying decisions, they spent more time than men purchasing goods and services.

Work and work related activities averaged 3 hours and 30 minutes. This seemed anemically low relative to Leisure and Sports (including TV viewing) at more than a whopping 5 hours. However part-timers, students and the unemployed were included in the survey averaging out the figures. I'll dig deeper into the U.S. data on a future post.

Adrian Ott is the award-winning author of The 24-Hour Customer: New Rules for Winning in a Time-Starved, Always-Connected Economy which was named a Best Business Book 2010 by Library Journal and by Small Business Trends. Enter to win an iPad 2 or a free copy. Follow Adrian on Twitter at @ExponentialEdge.

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