Traditional paper calendars still dominate the world of appointments

We may think we live in a digital society, but the 87% of Internet users who use a calendar don’t always do so in a digital way. In fact, the world is still dominated by paper calendars.

How do people handle their appointments and how do they live with their calendars? These questions grabbed our interest and we wanted to get some answers. To do that, we asked about 530 Doodle users to answer an extensive list of questions (on-site sample), and last week, around 2,000 regular Internet users* completed a set of questions (online sample). Here are the main findings from our first analysis that we wanted to share with you.

5.7 appointments in an average week
An average Internet user has 5.7 appointments in an average week. 50% have 1-4 appointments, 9% have no appointments at all, and 41% have five or more appointments in an average week. Respondents also indicated that they have an average of more than 10 appointments in a particularly busy week.

People who either mainly have business appointments or have the same amount of personal and business appointments tend to have more appointments in an average week, namely 10.5 and 7.6 respectively compared to 3.3 for people who mainly have personal appointments in an average week (see chart 1). Doodle users reported an average of 13 appointments per week in the on-site survey.

Chart 1: Number of appointments in an average and in a particularly busy week by people who mainly have personal or mainly business appointments, or an equal split between the two (N=2021)

49% still use a paper calendar – women and Germans at the top of the list

A surprisingly high segment of 49% of Internet users said they used a paper calendar as their main calendar (see chart 2) while only 21% of the Doodle users from the on-site sample said that this was the case with them. Other main systems are electronic desktop calendars (Outlook, iCal, Lotus Notes, etc.), calendars on mobile devices, and Web-based calendars (Google, Yahoo!, etc.). 12.9% don’t use a calendar at all while 15.2% use two or more calendars at the same time. In France, 23% of Internet users don’t have a calendar.

Chart 2: Calendar systems in use (N=2011)

The Germans (60%) and women in general (62%) are more likely to use a paper calendar as their main calendar. People with business meetings are more likely to have a main electronic calendar that is synchronized with a server. Americans (7% compared to 2.6% of the Germans) and younger people (6.6%) are more likely to choose a Web-based calendar and younger people lead the way in having their main calendar on a mobile device (27%).

Additionally, only 30% of people who use electronic, Web-based, or mobile calendars are happy with them and don’t think that they need additional features. The rest would like to see additional features that are mostly covered by an online scheduling tool like Doodle, such as the possibility to propose multiple options when scheduling an appointment and the capability to invite people who are using other calendar systems (see chart 3).

Chart 3: Features that electronic or Web-based calendars should offer in addition to what they do today (N=1249)

Online scheduling is used by 67% of the Swiss and 21% of the rest of the world

Update: People on average spend 17 minutes per day on coordinating meetings with others. The amount of time spent on doing so grows with the amount of appointments that people have, however, the time needed for scheduling per meeting decreases (see chart 4). What we see here, are meeting experts who use suitable tools to get the scheudling job done quickly, despite the lack of available time slots in their calendars.

Chart 4: The time needed to coordinate one appointment decreases with the number of appointment one has (N= 2021)

Personal / phone conversations and email are absolutely dominating the way meetings are coordinated (see chart 5). These methods are followed by meeting requests, online scheduling tools like Doodle, and Facebook. The Swiss Internet users have adopted online scheduling to the largest extent (67% compared to 21% of the rest of the world who use it sometimes or frequently). Per appointment, the Swiss need about half the time for the coordination as the rest of the world. In terms of online scheduling adoption, Switzerland is followed by France, Germany, and the United States. The numbers also show that online scheduling is more popular among people who mainly have business appointments and people who regularly schedule appointments with more than two individuals.

Chart 5: Methods of communication used for the coordination of appointments (N=2021)

Doodle connects all calendars

These first results are a strong confirmation for the relevance of Doodle – which is the platform that covers missing features that calendars don’t or can’t provide and that connects users of all different types of calendars, including those who use a paper agenda or no calendar at all. However, we didn’t find a way yet to technically integrate your paper agenda with Doodle but all electronic calendars can be connected making the coordination of appoinments even more efficient and fun.

*2,021 Internet users normalized by age and gender from Switzerland, USA, France, and Germany (N=500 respondents each) were surveyed online by respondi AG between July 4-8, 2011. By default, results from the Internet user survey (online sample) are discussed. Results from the Doodle user survey (on-site sample) are highlighted separately.

One thought on “Traditional paper calendars still dominate the world of appointments

  1. Pingback: The Surprisingly Interesting History of the Calendar Setster Blog |

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s