UK householders are abandoning DIY and reaching for their phones to shell out an astounding £20bn a year on services, according to research published today by BT.
The study revealed that 73 per cent of modern-day Brits would rather phone for expert help than do it themselves. For more than half the nation, takeaway food tops this list of services, while a third eats out at least twice a week.
However, the research also identified a breed of British 'convenience cravers' who demand personal trainers, personal shoppers and even dog walkers.
One in six indicated that they avoid the equivalent of two days' hard graft by calling out the likes of cleaners and caterers, and on average each Brit gains an extra five hours spare time by enlisting the skills of others.
Leonie Toal, PR manager for The Phone Book from BT, said that, in many British homes, doing the chores simply entails sitting on the sofa with a phone.
"Time is the one thing most Brits just don't have, and we are reaching for the phone to organise our lives. With so many convenience services available, we can really begin to claw back more time for ourselves," she said.
"With 500 party organisers listed nationwide, and over 1,200 pet services ranging from parrot-sitting to poodle grooming, just flicking through The Phone Book's new classified section perfectly illustrates the spectrum of services out there."
If money were no object, three fifths of women would hire a full-time hair and make-up artist, and almost two-fifths of men cited a personal chauffeur as their ideal assistant.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, men were also much keener on having a live-in nanny (23 per cent) while women preferred a personal shopper (25 per cent).
The study also suggested that some conveniences have actually become a necessity. Our parents could darn socks and bake bread with ease, but 85 per cent of today's Britons struggle with tasks as simple as ironing a shirt or sewing on a button.
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