CIL survey outlines how consumers are coping with Covid-19

01 June 2020 4 min. read

Of all the things UK residents are looking forward to post-Covid-19, seeing their friends and family ranks highest – ahead of sport, entertainment and travel. Meanwhile, attitudes to leisure may change permanently.

The UK Prime Minister’s most senior advisor came under fire at the end of May, after details emerged of a 260 mile drive he took that have left him facing widespread calls to resign. Dominic Cummings drove from London to a farm in Durham owned by his parents, before taking a further 60-mile round trip to a nearby town on his wife's birthday. His wife was unwell at the time and that he got sick soon after, with what they believe was coronavirus.

Part of the furore surround Cummings’ goings is that his excursion seemed to so flagrantly flout the social distancing rules he had helped draw up to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the UK. Amid the consternation, then, there has been an outpouring of emotion from citizens who have been forced to stay away from loved ones for fear of spreading Covid-19, only for those efforts seemingly to be publically undermined by a Government employee.

A new study from CIL Management Consultants arguably further illustrates why this story might have stuck in the nation’s craw in such a way. According to the survey of 2,000 people across Britain, the vast majority said they were most looking forward to visiting friends and family after lock-down measures eased. Around 80% of respondents said it was at least a high priority, while of that 55% said it was top priority.

What are you most excited about

The next most popular course of action was an over-due trip to the hairdressers – not something Cummings would need to trouble himself with – with 27% of Britons saying it was a top priority and 30% saying it was high on the agenda. Meanwhile, participating in sport, joining a gym and going to the pub were all labelled a top priority by 15% of respondents.

Interestingly meanwhile, despite a recent poll by Oliver Wyman finding 54% of UK respondents are looking to travel internationally for their next leisure trip, once restrictions are lifted, it is relatively low on the agenda of CIL respondents. Only 27% of people said they would look into going overseas (though this may prove impossible due to the current retaliation Britain is facing for its Government’s proposed quarantine of 14 days for all visiting tourists), while just 21% said they would consider a UK holiday.

Looking further beyond the easing of lock-down, meanwhile, people appear keen to continue activities they’ve picked up in the last two months. The clearest potential change is in exercise habits, with at home or outdoor workouts apparently more popular than ever. On a more serious note, however, the lock-down may also result in a historic shift in the working attitudes of the UK public.

Of those polled, 37% said they expect to work from home more than before – perhaps having become aware that the majority of their responsibilities were not contingent on sitting in the office. At the same time, 29% said they were more likely to put money into savings from now on, having realised how easily and suddenly the economy could be derailed by a global health crisis – one which could very much return in the near future.

How will your behaviours change

The UK public also have high net intent for spending time on things like self-improvement or learning a new skill to that end. As many face having to either adapt to new aspects of their job, or find new work altogether, this is seen as a crucial step to a third of all respondents.

Summarising the study, authors Liam McGuinness, Scott Pettipher and Leah Betts wrote, “What is clear is that the Covid-19 crisis and sustained lock-down period have emphasised the importance of social interaction and physical and mental wellbeing. Activities relating to this will experience a bump coming out of any lock-down restrictions, although the recovery may be a little longer for those that involve mass gatherings as we get over the memory of social distancing. What is also clear is the acceleration of the trend towards online – whether retail, working out or even chatting to friends through video conferencing.”

Elsewhere, global strategic consulting firm McKinsey & Company recently looked to get a handle on the consumer sentiment of Australia. In a similar poll, the firm found that just one fifth of Australians are upbeat about the pace of economic recovery. They believe Australia’s economy will rebound within 2-3 months and grow just as strong or even stronger than before the Covid-19 outbreak.