People Watching in the UK: Our Survey

Many of us like to do it. Some of us can’t help doing it. But most of us wouldn’t admit to it. Until now.

At Direct Blinds we decided to take a look at people watchers and find out what makes them tick. And that’s why we launched a survey studying the characteristics and locations of people watchers in the UK.

The idea came from the blinds and curtains that we sell, which don’t just look great but provide protection from being watched. And we wondered: why do us Brits like being private? More than that, why do we like watching other people? So, we investigated the habits that people have when it comes to people watching. And the results make for very revealing reading.

A Regular Habit

Our first question asked how often respondents indulged in people watching, and for many (37%) it is a regular activity, occurring at least once a day. Others (25%) responded that they people watch up to three times a day. While some (10%) go as far as to claim that they feast their eyes on their fellow Brits up to 10 times per day. Looking at these results, it seems safe to say that people watching really is something that most of us participate in.

Twitching Curtains


We then looked at the favoured locales for people watching and found that home is best, with 24% selecting this option. Bars, cafés or restaurants came a close second though, with 23% of respondents selecting this option. Others (18%) like to sit comfortably in shopping centres in order to have a good gander at the people walking by, while some prefer to engage in this activity from a car/bus (16%) or their office window (12%).

Social Stalkers

It seems that people watching isn’t just confined to the real world, with 27% of respondents saying that they have been caught out people watching online. A whopping 49% of us Brits also say that we fear accidently liking someone’s picture (although that doesn’t seem to stop us looking).

Men and Women

Our survey found that there are differences between men and women when it comes to people watching. Most significant, perhaps, is the fact that men are more likely to get caught out than women. Does this mean that men could do with some advice and guidance on proper people watching etiquette? If so, they might be too busy staring at other people to take it.

In terms of locations, men prefer people watching from home while women favour bars, cafés or restaurants, suggesting again that women are the more confident and skilful people watchers.

The Generation Gap

The biggest people watching culprits are millennials, with 16% of them admitting to indulging in the habit 10 times a day. And the average time spent people watching daily by the 18-24 age group is a rather lengthy 45 mins (time that they could perhaps better use in studying). But the 65+ age group isn’t to be left out, with 25% of them admitting to people watching at least three times a day.

Interestingly, the least successful people watchers are the 25-34 age group, who are the most likely to get caught out (33%). Perhaps people in this group should consider buying sunglasses to be more discrete?

People Watching Cities

The biggest people watchers, indulging in the habit around 10 times per day, are to be found in Cardiff, followed by Sheffield and Newcastle. Speaking of Newcastle, Geordies are the most likely to watch people at work. But watching others in the office is a countrywide phenomenon, with one in five Brits admitting to this particular peccadillo. It is certainly better than staring at a spreadsheet all day.
And finally, it’s worth noting the cities where people like to watch others, but don’t always get it right. Sheffield residents topped this list, but the full findings regarding those who get caught the most are below.

Watch This Space

So, those are the results of our survey. We hope you have found them interesting and enlightening. And if you’re interested in similar topics, keep an eye on our site. Now, if you’ll excuse us, we’re off to do a spot of people watching ourselves.

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