SA versus the world: how do we rate?

2014-07-22 07:43

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Cape Town - In the largest study of its kind, a new survey compares the attitudes and behaviours of the citizens of 20 key countries around the world. How did South Africa do? News24 finds out.

The 2014 Global Trends Survey, conducted by UK market research group Ipsos Mori, was completed by 16 000 people in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Poland, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the UK and the US.

Ben Page, chief executive of Ipsos Mori said: “The intention here is to spark a conversation about ‘what next’.” Here, we reveal how South Africans feel:

Most of us are happy

We’re not as happy as the Swedish, Canadians or Aussies - but we are straight in at number four for happiness, with 83% claiming that “taking all things together” they are happy. The least happy nation is Spain, followed by South Korea and Japan.

That said, more than half of the South Africans polled - a higher proportion than any other nation - said it was more important to develop the nation’s economic growth than improve our citizens’ happiness and wellbeing.

And we are optimistic about our family’s future

The glass is half full in South African families. When asked if they were optimistic or pessimistic about their personal and family future over the next 12 months, South Africans topped the chart - with 75% claiming to be optimistic.

The Brazilians were just behind us with 74%, followed by the Swedish with 73%. The South Koreans, Japanese and Italians ranked as the three least optimistic about their future.

But we’re less optimistic about the country

Looking ahead to the next 12 months, almost half of us are pessimistic about South Africa. Only 29% were optimistic, the rest weren’t sure. Half of us would like the country to be “the way it used to be”. It did not elaborate on what this meant.

SA ranked below the global average of 32% for optimism, coming in at number 11 out of 20. India, Canada and Australia rank as the top three most optimistic over their country’s future, while France, Italy and Spain take the bottom three slots.

And we are a bit insular

We are among the most conservative nations when it comes to the debate around immigration - with 74% of us agreeing that there are “too many immigrants” in South Africa. Only Russia and Turkey think their immigration problem is worse.

While 65% of us believe that globalisation is good, 87% of us think we are living in an increasingly dangerous world - and more than half of us have no desire to live in a big city.

We think we are super healthy

South Africans ranked themselves as the most healthy nation of all - with 79% agreeing that their health is good. Also scoring more than 70% were the Americans, Indians, Canadians and Argentineans. The South Koreans, Russians and Chinese rated their health the worst.

Despite agreeing that we are overweight

That said, less than half of South Africans claimed to be happy with their weight, while 43% were actually “dissatisfied” with their weight.

We don’t rate our parenting skills

A whopping 88% of South Africans agreed that parents don’t take enough responsibility for their kids. Though we top the international poll in this respect, we are closely followed by the USA at 87% and the UK at 84%.

While most of us agree more should be done, we are divided over parenting - with 54% believing that one parent is as good as two, and 46% arguing that two parents is better.

Meanwhile, almost half of us don’t sit down to eat family meals together at home - something almost unheard of in France - where 8 out of 10 families eat together.

We value job security over money

More than half of us agree that it’s better to have a secure job than a well paid one - with only 19% favouring pay over security.

The figures are similar across the globe, with the exception of China and Russia - where 48% and 39% favour pay over security respectively.

We are technology friendly

Eight out of 10 of us are keen to know more about new technology and can’t imagine our lives without the internet.

Indeed, 77% of us feel like we spend most of our days looking at a screen - rating us just below China which tops the bill at 78%.

We are also just below China at number two when it comes to agreeing that technology “generally makes life better”.

But not when it comes to sex or work

Though 82% of us think that technology “generally makes life better”, in South Africa - more than any other country - people believe that the internet is making young people views about sex “unrealistic”. While 70% of us agreed on this point, China and India were not far behind us at 65%.

We also blame technology for increasing our workload - with 61% of us saying we now spend more time working. Meanwhile, 64% of us find it “hard to switch off” because of technology.

We are more into social networks than the Americans

Three quarters of us log in to social networking sites several times a day - putting us streets ahead of most social media users in the western world. In the US, 57% admit to logging in daily, while 61% of Britons engage online daily and 58% of Australians.

But we are not the biggest social media addicts - that crown goes to Brazil, where almost 9 out of 10 people roam social networks every day. SA is ranked fourth behind Brazil, Turkey (84%) and Argentina (81%).

And we are the consumer champions of the world

South Africans, more than any other nation, vote with their feet when it comes to products.

We are more likely to recommend products to our friends than any other nation - with 8 out of 10 people making personal recommendations for products, services or companies to friends in the last year. We also take our friends’ recommendations more seriously than anyone else in the world - we top the bill with 40% of us purchasing goods based on friends’ tip offs.

We are suckers for good advertising

We fall for adverts more than any other country in the world, with almost half of us visiting a company’s website after seeing its advertising. Almost 70% of us find out about new products through advertising and we are more likely than any other nation to send an advert on to a friend or colleague.

But we are not afraid of complaining

We are also the most likely people in the world to complain if a product isn’t up to scratch - topping the table with 33% of us admitting to logging complaints in the last year.

The Japanese meanwhile sit at the other end of the scale - the least likely nation to recommend products or make complaints.

- See the full survey.

Read more on:    culture  |  service delivery

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