Study: Pandemic changing UK consumer behaviours

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Digital media quality specialist Integral Ad Science has released its Pandemic Effects: Shifting Consumer Priorities report, which examines how UK consumer behaviour and spending habits will change as Covid-19 restrictions ease, providing insights for marketers on how they can best engage consumers through digital channels. 

Among the findings:

Online streaming surged during lockdown:

When reflecting on the past year, over a third (37 per cent) of Brits confirmed they had subscribed to and watched more online streaming video services for entertainment. Additionally, two in five (40 per cent) consumers spent more time streaming virtual workout programmes.

Consumers using television to source information now that restrictions have eased:

More than half (54 per cent) of consumers believe that online advertising will play an important role in helping them find information on the products and services available to them post-pandemic. To source this information, almost a third (32 per cent) of consumers will use television to research information on products and services available as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

Brands should prioritise safe, suitable and contextually relevant ads for Brits streaming content online:

Looking ahead, one in two (51 per cent) Brits believe it is important that online advertisements appear in safe and reputable sites. In addition, almost half (49 per cent) of consumers want ads to be relevant to the content that they are consuming.

Furthermore, two in five (40 per cent) want ads to recommend products and promotions based on what they have previously purchased.

 New UK Shopping & Social Habits Emerge as Lockdowns Lift

The majority (92 per cent) of UK consumers plan to continue at least one habit formed during lockdown periods after restrictions have been lifted, the study found. In fact, almost half (49 per cent) of consumers will continue online shopping, and more than four in ten (45 per cent) will continue using contactless payment methods.

Despite the majority (80 per cent) of Brits now feeling more comfortable doing social activities, two in five (40 per cent) remain concerned over confusing or conflicting guidelines for social gatherings and more than one in ten (15 per cent) will not engage in social activities as Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.

UK Consumers Keen on Spending on Restaurants & Travel

Consumers are keen on spending as establishments open up, with over a quarter (27 per cent) reporting more savings since lockdown, and over a third (38 per cent) anticipating that their spending will increase in the next year.

Specifically, consumers will likely spend towards experiences such as restaurants/dining (43 per cent), travel (40 per cent), and entertainment (35 per cent). Retail purchases post-pandemic will be split equally between physical stores and online channels for half (51 per cent) of consumers. Additionally, six in ten (60 per cent) of shoppers confirmed that they will make a conscious effort to support small and local businesses.

Marketers Poised to Engage with Consumers in a Post-pandemic Landscape

More than half (54 per cent) of consumers believe that online advertising will play an important role in helping them find information on the products and services available to them post-pandemic. To source this information, almost half (45 per cent) will use search engines, while more than a third (37 per cent) will use social media sites and apps.

“It’s clear that habits established during recent national lockdowns will have a lasting impact on consumers’ social and shopping activities post-pandemic,” said Nick Morley, EMEA MD at Integral Ad Science (IAS). “With the majority of UK consumers looking for a hybrid shopping experience as further restrictions are lifted, brands are presented with an opportunity to align their online and offline strategies to ensure that they’re reaching reinvigorated shoppers. Our study shows that safe, suitable, and contextually relevant advertising will be important to engage and build preference among these consumers. Ad environments must be considered from both a contextual and sentiment perspective to drive a much-needed boost in post-pandemic retail revenues and capture long-term consumer interest.”


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