Our changing relationship with ourselves

Sometimes we change our views to suit our own specific circumstances, but often our opinions over time can evolve in relation to broader changes in the world around us.

Using our TGI consumer behaviour data, we have taken a look at some of the key changing attitudes consumers have in relation to their outlook on their future, their sense of self and their relationship with their families.

Happiness and worry

Sometimes it can feel like back in the old days life was simpler and more carefree. Well, there is some truth in that. TGI data from 1987 reveals that at that time 46% of British adults agreed with the view ‘I like to enjoy life and don’t worry about the future’.

However, by 1993 this had fallen to 39%, a fluctuation that can perhaps in part be explained by the financial crash of the late 1980s. Since the early 90s, however, this figure has remained largely stable, even through the recession that took hold after 2007, standing today at 36%.


In some ways consumers today have more confidence in themselves than they did a generation ago. In 1987 56% of adults felt that it was important to be attractive, but this has fallen a great deal over the intervening 30 years, standing at just 37% today.

This represents a positive antidote to the notion that media portrayals of what constitutes attractiveness are causing consumers to feel under more and more pressure to conform to unrealistic and idealised standards.

Importance of family over career

The prioritisation battle between family and career is one that has ebbed and flowed over the years. During the noughties there was a period when a particularly large proportion of consumers acknowledged that their family was more important than their career, though this has since fallen back to the levels seen in the years prior to the millennium.

In 1987 two thirds of adults agreed with the view ‘My family is more important to me than my career’, though this grew sharply in the first decades of the noughties, peaking at 78% in 2007, before starting to decline towards previous levels. It is possible that the economically buoyant years prior to the 2008 recession meant people felt more secure in their careers and were more comfortable in explicitly placing their family at the forefront of their lives.

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