Barclaycard urges people to 'Start Today' with new campaign

  • New research from Barclaycard finds that almost a third of UK adults report feeling healthier as a result of following a personal passion
  • Hobbies have a positive impact on both work and home lives, with a quarter of UK adults saying their personal interests improve their work-life balance
  • One-third of Britons devote more than five hours to their hobbies or passions every week, but a ‘gender play gap’ means that men are more likely to reap the benefits

New research by Barclaycard has revealed that one in three people (31 per cent) who have a hobby or passion said that they feel healthier as a result of dedicated down time.

A passion project or hobby also leaves almost half of Brits (44 per cent) less stressed in their day to day lives, owing to their improved social circle and relationships.

The research from Barclaycard, which marks the launch of its Start Today campaign, found that Britons who have a personal passion are dedicating 20 hours a month to it on average and experiencing a raft of benefits, including overall wellbeing and positivity (42 per cent).

As well as boosting work life balance (24 per cent), hobbies help Brits to switch off and relax (54 per cent) as well as super-charging their social life. Almost half (49 per cent) have made more than 10 new friends through a shared interest.

However, Barclaycard found that a ‘gender play gap’ exists, with men significantly more likely than women to protect their time, in order to pursue their hobby or passion.

Men are also more likely to have a hobby than women in the first place (85 per cent for men, 80 per cent for women), and will then dedicate more time to it. 35 per cent of men devote five hours or more per week to their hobbies and interests versus 29 per cent of women.

Women also say that they feel less able to get started or commit time for pursuing their passions or getting started on a hobby– citing family commitments (33 per cent), work obligations (21 per cent) and a lack of disposable income (44 per cent) as the main reasons why not.

That means they are experiencing fewer benefits. Some 20 per cent of men say their hobby or passion means they perform better in their job, compared with just 6 per cent of women; and 27 per cent of men say they enjoy a better work-life balance as a result of their hobby, compared with 21 per cent of women.

The gender play gap is even clearer when it comes to the benefits in Brits’ personal lives: 23 per cent of men say their relationship is better as a result of their hobby or passion, compared with 11 per cent of women. 

From personal passion – to professional path

Brits are motivated to turn their hobbies or passions into their source of livelihood, with one in three who have a hobby or passion that isn’t currently their profession saying they would like to transform it into a career or business.

Many already have: 51 per cent say they have turned their hobby into a profession, and 50 per cent say their hobby or passion is, in fact, their profession. For others, however, this remains a pipe dream: one-fifth don’t think it would be possible to turn their hobby or passion into a job.

The research also found that millennials, those aged 25-34, are significantly more likely to say their hobby or passion means they perform better in their job: 29 per cent of this cohort, versus 13 per cent across all age groups.

Barriers to getting started

Despite the clear benefits of hobbies, many struggle with getting started, with 42 per cent of those who have an activity in mind that they have always wanted to try, but have no plans to do so, citing a lack of disposable income as the barrier.

More than a quarter (29 per cent) said that family commitments hold them back, with 21 per cent saying that professional obligations keep them at their desks too long for them to pursue their passions.

Brits also have a clear entrepreneurial streak, as a third reported that they would love to turn their passions into profits and blur the lines between personal and professional lives to do what they love for a living.

Andrew Hogan, Head of Brand Strategy at Barclaycard, said:

“Our research shows that in today’s often frantic world, having a hobby can have a huge, positive impact on both our personal and professional lives, as well as our overall health and wellbeing.

“That’s why it’s so important that we overcome obstacles to getting going, whatever that may be. We encourage everyone to prioritise their passions and start today.

“It’s fascinating to see that so many people daydream of turning their passion into a career – and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t. Taking that first step could be as simple as signing up to ukulele lessons or buying a bike.”

Notes to editors

For more information please contact Chloe Wilkinson, Senior PR Manager, Barclaycard, on 07469 031 300 or 

Online interviews were carried out with 5,001 UK adults by Opinium research in September 2017.

About Barclaycard

Barclaycard, part of Barclays Bank PLC, is a leading global payment business that helps consumers, retailers and businesses to make and take payments flexibly, and to access short-term credit and point-of-sale finance. In 2016 we processed over £250bn in transactions globally.

Barclaycard is a pioneer of new forms of payment and is at the forefront of developing viable contactless and mobile payment schemes for today and cutting-edge forms of payment for the future. We also partner with a wide range of organisations across the globe to offer their customers or members payment options and credit.

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