Resilient UK consumers remain confident despite the lengthy lockdown, signalling a bounce back in consumer spend once restrictions ease. This positive sentiment is being driven by younger, mobile audiences according to a new study released by Ocean Outdoor today.
@TheLocal is an interactive community which gives a voice to diverse mobile audiences across the UK, providing a live snapshot of consumer trends mindsets and behaviours across the UK. Formed by Ocean, it includes a nationally representative panel of 2,200 members. An online @TheLocal study conducted from 15th - 22nd May 2020 establishes that people are poised to return to active outdoor lives within eight weeks, and when they do, they intend to spend as much or even more on their favourite out of home retail and leisure activities.
- Two in five say they will return to shopping out of home within a month
- One in three will return to restaurants within a month
- One in three say they intend to go on holiday or travel with two months
The survey measures pent up customer demand across multiple categories, with many respondents saying they will spend more once lockdown lifts and stores reopen:
- Domestic holidays - 22% will spend more, 51% will spend the same
- Personal care - 17% will spend more, 59% will spend the same
- Big ticket items such as cars - 15% will spend more, 57% will spend the same
The findings are released just days before the reopening of major shopping centres such as Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City and projected plans by the government to open bars and cafes again.
Zone of Influence
The survey does pinpoint an element of uncertainty around some activities such as returning to the workplace and college, or visiting the gym, suggesting a level confusion over government guidelines as concerns over health and safety linger. This, however, creates an opportunity for brands to open a positive, responsible dialogue with consumers, and suggests that the next eight weeks are an opportunity for brands and retailers to influence purchase decisions as people resume their out of home lifestyles and pursuits.
Ocean Outdoor insight manager Monika Tomova said: “It’s clear from our study that there is an improvement in consumer sentiment as people crave a return to normality. People are looking forward to going out to meet with their friends and family and socialising out of home within the next month. What they are seeking however is informative and reassuring messages to address any uncertainties. With the imminent reopening of shopping centres and other services, there is now clearly a window of opportunity for advertisers to tap into pent up demand over the coming eight weeks as people begin to spend more and look to return to their normal routines.”
Post Lockdown Aspirations
Most anticipated of all is the reunion with friends and family at 75%. Many are also keen on returning to travelling and taking holidays (43%), followed by going to restaurants (40%). There are some notable difference across age groups, with 16% of everyone saying they want to go back to the gym, but nearly third (26%) of 18 - 34 year olds saying this is what they are most looking forward to. Younger age groups are also more eager to see loved ones and partners than the general population (33%). Those exposed the most to OOH advertising and audiences who tend to spend more time outdoors are the ones that are more impatient to return all of the activities we looked into.
Preparing for Bounce Back
When asked how soon after lockdown restrictions are lifted respondents will resume their normal lifestyles, 35% said they will be seeing friends and family as well as loved ones and partners within a few days restrictions easing. People in Scotland were particularly looking forward to that and will be doing so in the first few days (64%). When it comes to returning to work, university or college, 32% said they will probably do this within a month. This grows to nearly one in two (47%) among the more mobile OOH cluster. A higher proportion of Scots (45%) will be going back to work, university or college in the same timeframe.
Regarding going to the gym, the majority (57%) weren’t sure which reflects the fact there is still no official guidelines from government as to when gyms might open. Of those who are more confident, 20% say they will return to the gym within a month, rising to (28%) among respondents in the North West.
One in three are keen to return to restaurants and say they will do so within a month. 25 to 34 year olds have the biggest appetite to visit restaurant within a month (52%), along with food lovers in Scotland (64%) and the East of England (80%). 62% of the OOH cluster say they will be returning to restaurants in the same time frame. 35% say they will be visiting cafes in the same timeframe. Londoners are keener to visit cafes, with 45% saying they will do so in a month; similarly in North East, 55% will return in a month. 27% will return at pubs and bars within a month. This increases to 48% in the North West and 50% in West Midlands. When it comes to retail, nearly two in five (37%) say they will go back to shopping within a month. Finally, more than one in three (33%) say they will travel and go on holiday within a couple of months, just in time for the summer getaways.
When asked about whether people believe the ease of lockdown restrictions in England was the right move, the majority of @The Local panellists agree with 50% of respondents saying they think this was the right move for England. There are some differences across gender with men more likely to agree with this decision than women (60% and 44%) respectively. Across the regions, those in Yorkshire and Humberside were the most likely to agree with the ease of lockdown (64%). Finally, the more mobile audiences spending more time out and about and being exposed to OOH were more likely to agree than general (58%).