Against the clock: why more time is not the answer for consumers

Citizens Advice has just published a report exploring how long it takes to follow a ‘good’ consumer decision-making process compared to what comes more naturally, and what impact this has on consumers.

In “Against the clock: why more time is not the answer for consumers”, it is explained that:

  • Following a ‘good’ decision-making process takes longer than following a natural process (an average of 107 vs 76 minutes per week). This difference is particularly stark in regulated markets, like energy and financial services
  • Following a ‘good’ decision-making process leaves consumers feeling less satisfied with their decision than if they simply decide naturally. Again, this is worse in regulated markets
  • In regulated markets, consumers are even less satisfied when they take the time to read terms and conditions, than if they don’t bother to do so.

This research adds to the growing body of evidence showing that certain features of regulated markets in particular (e.g. complexity, level of enjoyment people derive from engaging) make them very difficult for consumers to engage with. The clear implication of the findings is that spending more time will not necessarily increase consumer satisfaction. Markets need to be made easier for consumers to navigate, and behavioural insights need to be taken seriously in order to improve them.

You can read a blog posting on the report here and you can access the full report here.


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