The initial survey from WPP media agency Mindshare UK was carried out in the first four days of the lockdown between March 20th and 23rd and surveyed a representative sample of 500 UK consumers. The study will continue weekly for eight weeks to track the impact of COVID-19 on people’s attitudes and behaviour. Please refer to data presentation available on request.
The research found high levels of concern and anxiety across all age groups and households but tracking significantly higher for parents and particularly parents in London. People are more concerned overall about the welfare of their families and loved ones than they are about the impact of the virus on their daily lives.
The study found lower concern about the virus amongst young consumers and far higher levels of frustration. It indicated low positive responses to whether people feel “hope” and “calm” but significantly it showed almost no-one is in denial about Coronavirus.
Other key findings include:
• 76% say life feels very uncertain
• 59% say they are worried about misinformation online
• 58% agree the crisis is an opportunity to slow down and connect with what really matters
• 55% agree “at that at times like these you really appreciate the BBC”
• 50% say they are spending more time online
• 50% are confident they can weather the storm financially
• 46% said they were reducing their financial obligations wherever possible
What we want from brands during the Coronavirus crisis
Around three quarters of people want brands to play a role in supporting communities, promoting wellbeing and providing useful information. Half of consumers felt this should be a proactive role and only small minority didn’t think brands should be providing support to help tackle the crisis.
The need to comply with the lockdown gained immediate cut through with a big majority of people – for example:
• 78% said they had stopped eating out
• 77% stopped meeting friends
• 73% cancelled day trips
• 70% said they would no-longer see family
Mindshare UK’s tracker also indicated consumers are focussing on the essentials of daily life for the time being, with many business sectors likely to be affected by cancelled or postponed purchase decision:
• 70% were not planning an overseas holiday
• 66% said they were not planning a UK holiday
• 51% said they no-longer planned to buy luxury items
• 47% will not be making significant purchases for their homes
• 45% do not plan to buy new clothes
• 34% would not be buying treats for themselves
Mindshare UK found that official advice around awareness of the virus and the need to change behaviour to mitigate its impact through the lockdown is cutting through, with 65% saying they feel well informed, 29% saying they are informed to a degree and just a small minority (6%) saying they are aware but don’t feel informed. 67% said they are checking the media several times a day compared to just 1% who said they were checking once a week.
Jem Lloyd-Williams, CEO at Mindshare UK, said: “COVID-19 is having a profound impact on our lives so we believe it is important to understand what people are seeking from businesses and organisations through these difficult times. We’ve found families are particularly stressed during the lockdown but overall the nation is engaged with the issues. The vast majority of people have reacted quickly to the need to change their behaviours. Now they want simple, clear information. As a nation on high alert there’s a clear role for brands and organisations to play as the lockdown continues.”