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Perception and reality

Jane Priest, Teaching Fellow

Faculty Blog

How many people in your country own their home? Or have a smartphone? Or diabetes? What percentage of people aged 25 to 34 live with their parents? Or are under the age of 14? These are the sorts of questions that catch people out in the Ipsos’ Perils of Perception Survey, and the Ipsos’ Perils of Perception 2017 results have now been released.

This year, nearly every country surveyed overestimated smartphone membership in their own country, and every country overestimated the proportion of the population with Facebook accounts. Most counties overestimated the number of registered vehicles in their country too.

When it comes to knowing your market and capitalising on, or responding to market conditions, judgement can go a long way. But it is also important to remember that perceptions are not necessarily reality! To make informed marketing decisions, it therefore makes sense to support intuition with comprehensive market research.

The good news is that things might not be as bad as they seem: last year, in the UK we guessed that only 47 per cent of Britons would say they were very or rather happy, when actually 92 per cent said they were.

The big question this year is, which country was most accurate? You can also see how you score by taking the quiz here.