If Money Were No Object, Would People Shop More? [Stats]

If we had more money, would we shop more? The answers reveal underlying attitudes about time-money tradeoffs…and may surprise you.


In a prior post, I shared research that senior executives, if given an extra hour each week, overwhelming say they would spend the time either with friends and family or engaged in a hobby (such as exercise). It turns out that a preference for leisure is not unique to ultra-busy executives. When my firm, Exponential Edge, asked the same question of other groups(managers/individual contributors, business owners, and people not employed outside the home), friends and hobbies still won out. Only 6.3 percent of the 570 U.S. respondents surveyed said they would use the extra hour to shop online or in a store.


But what if money were no object? Would the answers change?

The Majority (74%) Would Not Shop More

Seventy-four percent of respondents said they would not spend more time shopping no matter their financial situation.

Money changed the priorities for a quarter (26%) of respondents as indicated in the chart below. Of this group, 41 percent would spend the extra time shopping either on-line (16%) or in a retail store (25%). Further analysis of the underlying detail reveals that the bulk of respondents that favored shopping were either in the manager/individual contributor or not employed categories. With the exception of retirees, these respondents were younger and less-affluent, so more wealth may conjure for them opportunities to acquire a backlog of items they cannot yet afford.

Several respondent remarks provide insight into the findings:


“Love my work, but the best time of my life is with family and friends and getting away from my   office and my computer. I will always treasure that most.”

“Balancing between stuff that needs to be done for work, the house, kids, etc…. no time for me.”

“The @#!$ [expletive] computer sucks up all of my free time.”

We all know that the best of intentions do not always translate into behavior. This is nonetheless a good barometer of attitudes pertaining to the tradeoffs between time and money. 

About the data: Findings were collected from 570 adults (age 18+) via a nationally representative online questionnaire for the groups surveyed in the U.S. by Exponential Edge Inc ( from September thru November 2009.



Adrian Ott has been called, “One of Silicon Valley’s most respected, (if not the most respected) strategist” by Consulting Magazine. As CEO of Exponential Edge® consulting, she helps businesses gain market advantage in today’s turbulent economy. Follow her on twitter at @ExponentialEdge

Adrian is the author of the forthcoming book The 24-Hour Customer: New Rules for Winning in a Time-Starved, Always-Connected Economy (HarperCollins, August 2010).

This article reflects the author’s opinion and does not represent those of clients and affiliates.

© 2010 Exponential Edge Inc., All Rights Reserved

About the author

Adrian Ott, award-winning author, speaker, and CEO of Exponential Edge Inc., was called “one of Silicon Valley’s most respected strategists” by Consulting Magazine. She helps relentless visionary executives to foresee disruptive opportunities and accelerate market leadership