COVID-19 REPORT: 10 Consumer Insights UK Brands Need To Know About
We’re currently running online consumer focus groups to help our clients understand changes in consumer habits, behaviours and attitudes, during the coronavirus pandemic.
In the most recent focus group, we’ve identified ten areas that consumer habits have changed/evolved since the arrival of COVID-19 into our lives.
The following is a brief summary of our ten findings. Enter your email address below to get a FREE copy of the complete 30-page report.
1. ANXIETY TO ACCEPTANCE
When asked to summarise their feelings about the pandemic in a word, respondents appear to be gaining a more balanced perspective as the crisis continues and we settle into lockdown. Many individuals described positive feelings, indicating a sense of acceptance and adjustment to the situation by week 6. Will this trend continue?
2. FINANCIAL WELLBEING IS THE BIGGEST FEAR
The economic impact of the virus is huge and is likely to directly impact more people over the coming months.
Consequently, although people are concerned about the health of their loved ones, and the future of their communities, the immediate worry for all is financial.
As people are put on furlough or lose their source of income, they are changing the ways in which they view and spend their money.
3. FOOD & DRINK HAS A NEWFOUND SIGNIFICANCE
Food and drink at home has found new levels of significance during lockdown. Mealtimes are a moment to experiment and catch up but snacking between and throughout the day has become a norm.
As our routines change, so has our relationship with food and how it fits into our day. For many it has become a regular vice for boredom and stress, causing people to eat more unhealthy food more frequently (more quantity and less quality). For a few however it has become a marker of routine that enables them to keep some structure to their day.
4. ‘ME TIME’ HAS BECOME A KEY MOMENT IN THE DAY
Many talk of missing friends, family, sport, and life’s little pleasures but through it all the structure of the day has been thrown into disarray, causing stress and a sense of unease.
For all, there seems to be a moment of ’me time’ towards the end of the day where they need to reward themselves for successfully navigating the day with a moment of relaxation and a little treat such as a glass of wine or chocolate.
5. THE HEALTHY BALANCE IS FINDING A NEW EQUILIBRIUM
The initial novelty of lockdown saw individuals loosening their rules around diet and exercise as their normal routines fell apart. However, as the lockdown has been extended, people are showing more determination to stay fit and healthy during lockdown.
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6. CHANNEL PREFERENCES WILL TAKE ANOTHER SHIFT
During lockdown, for most of us, our physical contact with the outside world is shopping for groceries and other essentials. Consequently, people are beginning to see shopping in a new light; either as a way to get out of the house or an unnecessary danger. This, along with changes to living situations and financial strains, is impacting everything from where we shop, to how we shop and why we shop.
7. BEING HELPFUL IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN ‘BEING COOL’
Most respondents speak of brands playing less of a role in their decision making and having little front-of-mind impact.
However, respondents praise brands and businesses that are seen to be stepping up and doing their part for the community in whatever way they can, rather than pushing their own agendas. From supermarkets implementing new initiatives to support the vulnerable and frontline workers to small businesses donating products to those in need.
8. SOCIAL DISTANCING ISN’T GOING ANYWHERE
Respondents reported feeling nervous about group settings such as shops, concerts and events.
It is very likely that some form of social distancing will be Government policy for a considerable time to come, and beyond that, some people will create their own new rules of distancing.
9. ‘BACK TO BASICS’ MAY HAVE LONG-TERM IMPLICATIONS
Much has been made of the initial consumer reaction of stocking up on flour, toilet rolls, pasta and paracetamol. Many who reacted in this way now laugh about their reaction. But the absence of non-essentials and financial strains have caused consumers to think twice about what they need to buy with many focusing on the basics. Some have compared this to a ‘wartime’ mentality.
10. SOME THINGS WILL NOT BE AS WE REMEMBER
Respondents often talked of how things will never be the same again as smaller businesses, such as shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants, that they rely on may go out of businesses during a prolonged lockdown, regardless of how well-loved and successful, they are in normal times.
This will change the face of local neighbourhoods and have far-reaching economic implications.
Plus 1: THE SILVER LININGS AND GLIMMERS OF HOPE
The great unknown means many are unsure of how to feel about the future. Some are optimistic that we will be done in a few weeks, whereas others see this as a long-term issue with no definitive stop.
Either way, all have lost a sense of normality and have lapsed their rules and routines.
However, all can find small joys and silver linings amongst the gloom to keep them going through these tough times.
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