Forget the NSA — IKEA Knows What Time You Wake Up in the Morning
Business + Economy

Forget the NSA — IKEA Knows What Time You Wake Up in the Morning


If the early bird gets the worm, it's the Swedes who are most likely to catch one. According to a study by IKEA, 61 percent of people in Stockholm wake up before 7 a.m., versus only 51 percent of New Yorkers, 43 percent of Parisians, and 36 percent of Muscovites.

These are just some of the interesting sociological tidbits found in IKEA's Life At Home Report, the first of a two-part series from the Swedish furniture and home-goods company investigating life in eight of the world's biggest cities: Berlin, London, Moscow, Mumbai, New York, Paris, Shanghai, and Stockholm.

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This first part focuses exclusively on morning routines and habits, and is based on IKEA's existing consumer research, other published findings, and a new survey that reached out to 1000 respondents in each of the eight cities. Other findings of note from the Life At Home Report include:

  • 81 percent of Berliners think it’s important to give their partner a hug or a kiss in the morning, though just 47 percent actually do so.
  • Less than 10 percent of those surveyed from Shanghai shower or bathe in the morning.
  • 12 percent of employed Londoners have at some point done work from the bathroom.
  • And perhaps unsurprisingly, almost no one from any of the eight cities looked at exercises in the morning.

For all the post-Snowden fuss about the role state intelligence agencies increasingly play in our lives, this fairly innocuous report from IKEA is also a reminder that it isn't just governments who are interested in tracking our activities. Businesses both large and small currently are, and always have been, equally interested in what the masses are thinking and doing.

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Of course, market research and analysis is no recent innovation. Advertising agencies have been conducting consumer focus groups as long as the ad business has been around. And the new survey IKEA references — which makes up the bulk of the information presented in the study — was conducted in cooperation with United Minds, a Swedish business intelligence agency.

But even pre-Snowden, debate was heating up over the immense amount of personal data companies like Google and Facebook hoover up, enough for — ironically enough — governments to step in and take action, or at the very least think seriously about what privacy means in the digital age. Just last month, Europe's highest court ruled that search engines like Google must remove search-result data if asked to do so.

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Certainly the most worrisome aspect of the IKEA study is the revelation that New Yorkers are being beaten out of bed not just by the hard-working people of Stockholm, but also by those of Berlin and Mumbai.

C'mon, New York. Stop hitting the snooze button. Your reputation is at stake.

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