Swap a third of your online time for a hobby and reap the benefits, research shows

  • Brits who spend 5 – 10 hours per week on a hobby have made on average 17 new friends through their activity
  • Enthusiasts investing this amount of time are also the least likely to give up on a hobby within the first year
  • Majority of those with a hobby say they’re more relaxed and financially better off, while nearly half have a more positive outlook on life
  • Re-directing a third of the 23 hours Brits spend online every week into starting a new hobby could improve health and wellbeing 

Swapping just one third of the time you spend online for a new hobby will leave you feeling more relaxed and less stressed – and even make you friends.

New research from Barclaycard* into the power of pursuing passions found that spending between 5 and 10 hours per week on a hobby generated a wealth of benefits.

Almost two thirds (62 per cent) of Brits who spent 5 – 10 hours a week on a hobby reported that they felt more relaxed as a result saying that their social lives had benefitted as well, making an average of 17 new friends through their personal passion.

With recent Ofcom** research finding that Brits spend an average of 22.9 hours a week online, redirecting just one third of this time to a new hobby could help improve the nation’s health and well-being.

Brits dedicating 5 – 10 hours per week to their hobbies were most likely to report having a more positive outlook (47 per cent), feeling healthier (38 per cent), more confident (28 per cent) and more energetic (27 per cent). They’re also the group least likely to give up on a hobby within the first year.

Barriers to getting started

Despite the clear benefits of hobbies, many Brits admit that they struggle getting started – with 42 per cent of those surveyed admitting that there is something they’ve always wanted to try, but have no plans to do so because of a lack of disposable income.

Almost three in ten (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 three in ten (31%) reported that they would love to turn their passions into profits and blur the lines between their personal and professional lives to do what they love for a living.

Men versus women

The research found that men are significantly more likely to spend time on their hobby or passion than women.

In addition to being more likely to have a hobby than women in the first place (85 per cent for men, 80 per cent for women), men are also dedicating more time to it. 35 per cent of men devote five hours or more per week to their hobbies and interests compared to just 29 per cent of women.

The knock-on effect of this means that women are experiencing fewer benefits to their professional lives from their interests. While some 20 per cent of men say their hobby or passion means they perform better in their job, just 6 per cent of women agree. Meanwhile, 27 per cent of men say they enjoy a better work-life balance as a result of their hobby, compared with only 21 per cent of women.

The gap is even clearer when it comes to the benefits of the nation’s 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.

The positive impact of hobbies and passions




Feel happier



Feel more relaxed



Feel less stressed



Feel healthier



Made new friends



Increased confidence



Improved finances



From personal passion – to professional path

Brits are also motivated to turn their hobbies or passions into an income source, with a third (31 per cent) who have a hobby or passion that isn’t currently their profession saying they would like to transform it into a career or business.

This is especially true for millennials facing the pressures of building a career in today’s working environment, who in particular are devoting time to hobbies in order to balance work and play. The research found that one in three (29 per cent) 25-34 year olds are significantly more likely to say their hobby or passion means they perform better in their job, versus a national average of just 13 per cent.

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

“It’s widely known that all work and no play isn’t a good way to live, and our research shows that in today’s often frantic world, our hobbies can have a huge, positive impact on both our personal and professional lives.

“That’s why it’s so important that we overcome obstacles to getting going. We encourage everyone to think of that secret passion 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 chloe.wilkinson@barclaycard.co.uk or 07469 031 300.

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

**Ofcom, ‘Adults’ Media Use and Attitudes’ Report, June 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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