The consumer insights consultancy BVA BDRC, and Alligator Digital – a consumer research, behavioural and digital services company -have been tracking consumer behaviour and sentiment during the Covid-19 crisis and their latest study demonstrates the nuances that sit below the headline media and financial figures. In their April 9 weekly update, the companies show that while 55% of people in the UK say they are watching more linear TV, 5% are watching less, and while 54% are watching more on-demand, 4% are watching less. Overall, the net gains are reflected in the higher viewing figures being recorded, of course.
The study also shows that while nearly half of people have been hit financially by the crisis, 7% of consumers are in occupations which have seen some upside, leaving them better off. Another 29% of respondents say the crisis has not really affected them and is unlikely to do so.
One of the features of coronavirus for the media industry is that viewing is up but advertising spend is being hit, due to the economic contraction. BVA BDRC and Alligator Digital demonstrate the problem for the advertising market. For example, when it comes to thinking about foreign holidays and overseas destinations that you would like to visit, 46% of people are doing this less than normal, while 21% are doing it more. For viewing or reading content about travel, 43% are doing it less and 13% are doing it more.
The research also finds that UK citizens are not yet seriously starting to plan for “the day after” the crisis – at least not when it comes to making holiday or travel plans. According to the update – Tracking Consumer Sentiment on the Impact of COVID-19, 9th April 2020 – UK consumers anticipate an average of 5.2 months before they plan or book their next UK break. When it comes to overseas holidays, the average time before the activity (as conveyed and estimated by consumers) will be 5.3 months until planning and 5.9 months before booking.
The data on when consumers expect to engage in certain leisure activities again are sobering – showing 4.1 months before some serious shopping, five months before visiting a restaurant, 5.2 months before visiting the cinema and 5.3 months to the date they expect a day visit to a visitor attraction. 30% of people expect to go shopping in the next three months.
So, what are the main things UK consumers want to do as soon as the crisis is over? A word graph compiled by BVA BDRC and Alligator shows the dominance of ‘family’ and ‘friends’, then ‘holiday’, ‘pub’, ‘shopping’, ‘visiting’, ‘meeting’, ‘restaurant’, ‘eating’, ‘meal’, ‘visit’, and ‘booking’. ‘Cinema’ leads ‘gym’, ‘restaurants’ and ‘coffee’ in the middle stages of the list, with ‘travel’/‘travelling’, ‘clothes’ and ‘spending’ following in their wake.
An emotion word graph shows ‘relief’ and ‘happy’ way out in front, with ‘excited’ and ‘freedom’ following, but ‘cautious’ and ‘nervous’ also featuring highly.
When describing their personal financial situation during the crisis, the nuances were clear again. In the 18-35 age group, 10% of people describe themselves as ‘one of the lucky ones’ who is actually better off than before the crisis – and that is a higher proportion than in any other age group. Yet 18-35s also contains the joint-highest proportion who say they have been ‘hit hard’, with 22% characterising their situation like this. 22% of people aged 36-45 also said they have been hit hard. The ‘hit hard’ figure is 12% among 46-64 year-olds and 9% for over-65s.
Plenty of people say they ‘are alright – the pandemic has not really affected me’ and that they are pretty confident that it will not. The figures here are: 18-35s, 21%; 36-45s, 24%; 46-64s, 27%; Over-65s, 47%.
Interested in the implications of coronavirus on the media/entertainment/advertising sectors?
Then check out The Future of TV Advertising UK, the locked-down, all-digital, one-day thought leadership conference stream – where a whole session is dedicated to the impact of coronavirus and how the advertising buy and sell sides can mitigate against another Black Swan event. You can see the session details here. The full agenda is here. The event is being streamed on April 30, and Videonet is a media partner.