Our Thoughts

Will the coronavirus pandemic change things forever?

21st April 2020

“I’ll appreciate life more and work less. Enjoy the moment and nature.”

As the UK enters its 4th week in lockdown, we asked our online consumer panel about their experiences so far and whether they thought things will ever go back to being the same as they were before the lockdown started. We also asked about experiences with employment, their finances, and the companies they deal with.

Yesterday afternoon (20/04/20) a survey went live on the TLF Panel. By 8am this morning (21/04/2020) the sample of over 1,000 responses from UK consumers had been analysed. This article outlines the headlines and some interesting themes encapsulated by the comment above and illustrated by a few more comments at the end. In future articles and in our webinar on May 13th we will provide more details and insight.

Q. After the lockdown is over, do you think your life and the things you do will go back to being just the same as they were before the lockdown started?

  • Yes 43%
  • No 57%

Q. We asked people who were in employment before the lockdown how their job has been affected:

  • No change 17%
  • New working practices (hygiene, distancing) 16%
  • Working from home 43%
  • Furloughed 19%
  • Made redundant 5%

Q. Finances now – at the moment most are not financially worse off. Some are even better off.

  • A lot better off 5%
  • A little better off 12%
  • About the same 46%
  • A little worse off 28%
  • A lot worse off 9%

Q. We asked about how people felt about their household’s finances in the future and their expectations over the next 3 months and the next 12 months were almost identical, suggesting that many people do envisage a significant economic hit.

  • Confident about future finances 51%
  • Not sure 28%
  • Not confident about future finances 22%

Q. People are quite positive about how the companies they deal with have looked after customers during the lockdown:

  • Mostly looked after customers well 37%
  • A mixture 58%
  • Mostly looked after customers badly 5%

Will the lockdown make us nicer?

We also asked the questions ‘How do you think your life will change? What kind of things won’t you be doing that you used to do before? What kind of things will you be doing more of in future that you didn’t used to do before? Do you think your attitudes about some things will now have changed for ever?’

The comments make it clear that many people have been reflecting about life over the last 3 weeks and a lot of them think their life will be better. Being positive it does seem possible that as well as making people more cautious and hygiene conscious the lockdown is making people appreciate life more, value the environment and the outdoors more and take pleasure from doing and being rather than spending and having.

However, whilst we may become nicer and healthier after coronavirus has been defeated, there will be negatives, especially for some businesses. Appreciating meals at home with friends and family means less trade for pubs, restaurants and takeaways. Focusing on health means avoiding things seen as a health risk such as crowds in confined spaces – airports, planes, cinemas, theatres, concerts and high street shops. But opportunities for others such as retailers who get their omnichannel offering right and industries such as health and outdoor activities.

Strong themes emerging are:

  • Appreciating life, home, garden, friends and family more
  • More hygiene conscious and more social distancing
  • More appreciative of the environment and the outdoors
  • Avoiding crowded spaces
  • Spending less especially on things you don’t need
  • Less travelling, flying, foreign holidays.

Here are a few of the comments that encapsulate these themes.

“I would feel extremely anxious going out when other people are around and I cannot see me using high street shops more than I actually need to. I cannot see me going to places where there are large groups of people such as concerts. I will be spending much more time with my family as I miss them so much and want to hold and touch them. My attitude to spending money has changed and I cannot see me buying anything that I do not need. I want to continue spending more time outside in my garden where I can enjoy fresh air and freedom.”

“I have learnt/adjusted to a new 'leaner' way of life and I’d not want to go back to what I used to be. There are so many artificial things I used to want to have which is completely meaningless and I do not want to revert back to my wasteful self.”

“I think I'll be more grateful for the little things in life. Grateful that I have a roof over my head, clothes on my back, water, electricity and internet. I think I'll be friendlier, and kinder to people. I'll reach out and stop taking people for granted.”

“My life is going to have more leisure and less work time. I'll have a 4 day weekend! Will be spending more time at the beach and in the countryside. Reducing my work days to Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and making plans to make best use of the extra me-time. Life really is too precious and too short to waste it on work and earning money that you don't have time to enjoy. My motto will be earn less and live more.”

And there are some very sad stories which might also end up making us nicer. Hopefully.

“My husband is in a care home and I haven't seen him since the middle of March as they are in lockdown. I will be visiting him as much as possible after lockdown as you don't realise how much someone means to you until a situation like this occurs whereby you are unable to see someone who is so close to you. We lived together for 26 years and last July decided to get married just before he became so ill as we knew that if we waited any longer he would be too ill to marry. As a result of this my attitude to life is do what you can when you can as you never know what is going to happen - I never expected to marry my husband and then not see him for months.”

If you have any questions about the article or would like to know more about the findings please contact us.

01484 517575
Taylor Hill Mill, Huddersfield HD4 6JA
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