The latest survey from CACI, the consumer and location intelligence specialist, has revealed the extent of the growing positive sentiment among consumers as the vaccine roll-out gathers momentum. The findings also highlight the lasting implications the pandemic has had on consumer behaviour.
The survey, which was conducted in January speaking to a nationally representative sample across the UK, identifies five key points with regard to consumer sentiment:
- 86% of consumers want to get the vaccine, with demand strongest among the older vulnerable groups
- 74% of consumers’ finances have improved or stayed the same as a result of the pandemic; there is a net increase in income across all CACI’s Acorn groups
- 30% of consumers plan to revisit a big life event they have been putting off: 14% of respondents plan to buy a new car, rising to 20% in London; and 6% intend to buy their own home this year. For 25 to 24 year olds, 17% plan to get on the property ladder in 2021
- The number of people on reduced salaries has halved since the first lockdown; those on furlough have also reduced by a third
- 15% of consumers plan to treat themselves to a more expensive holiday this year; almost half of those planning a holiday intend to stay in the UK
While the findings point to a boost to the economy once the lockdown lifts, the research also identifies how consumer behaviour has changed and the implications for landlords and retailers:
- Safety first – even with a vaccine, consumers want to see active social distancing and more personal space. 88% of respondents want to feel safe in stores, up from 59% in September last year, and 55% of respondents would like to see safety precautions in place forever
- Spotlight on brand ethics – brands must be transparent and socially conscious, or risk reputational damage. For example, for 67% of respondents, the contribution a brand makes to overcoming the global challenge will affect where they spend their money. This compares to 16% of respondents in September 2020
- Flight to online – transactions have moved online and the change is here to stay. To be successful, shopping malls and retailers need to be omni-channel. While 1 in 5 consumers plans to shift their fashion shopping online, an equal number plans to spend more in store on clothing
- Love local – consumers have reconnected with the local areas and this needs to be reflected by the brands they buy and the places they visit
- Know your shopper – the trends that have emerged are highly localised and demographically polarised
Commenting on the research, Alex McCulloch, Director of CACI Property Consulting Group, said: “The nation can now see a way out of the pandemic, and for a large part of the population the successive lockdowns have given them the chance to save money as there has been little opportunity to spend. While it is highly promising that economic confidence is taking a turn for the better due to the vaccines, the data also shows it is key that destinations and brands do not revert to old behaviours and attitudes because consumer behaviour has changed permanently.
“Destinations and brands must work hard to understand the changing mindsets of their target audiences and communicate in ways that resonate. We need to plan for where customers will be, not where they are now.”
The post-lockdown survey research is the latest in a series of industry insights published by CACI, as it works with landlords, retailers and leisure operators to help them better understand changing consumer behaviour.