The Return of Consumer Confidence

Charlotte Jewell - 06.05.2021

There’s a big question that business owners and marketers are looking to answer as lockdown is relaxed; how has it affected our target customers and how they think about our brand? Have there been any long-term effects on consumerism itself? Which media are they spending their time on now? And, what are they considering purchasing? As an industry, businesses need to answer these questions as a priority.

Nielsen’s Total Audience Report, released in March is a great place to start. It’s focused on the US market, but as a broad comparison to a western economy that has been hard hit by Corona, it’s a useful yardstick.

Changing Media Habits

It’s clear that the pandemic was always going to have a big impact on media consumption, as we’ve all spent a lot more time cooped up at home. These changes are going to tack years to unpack fully, but sure enough, radio, smartphone and TV (live and on-demand) is dominating consumption.

In this context, it’s clear that we need to have a strategy to reach consumers via their screens. Social distancing is here to stay for the next few months at the very least, so it’s hard to see other channels eating into this share any time soon.

Spend patterns by category have also changed radically, though logically. Online retail has thrived YOY (+24%), and Travel has collapsed (-55%) with lesser declines across the board elsewhere.

It’s likely that we’ll see a rebalancing of this picture in the months to come, but brands will surely continue to develop their digital offering meaning Online Retail spend could well retain the majority of the share gained over the last 12 months.

Consumer confidence polling is encouraging

Context will be everything when it comes to the picture around consumer confidence; brands with an older, female demographic may see a slightly slower return to normality than those with a young male audience. However, the overwhelming outlook is positive. The survey showed that 55% of people said they are very optimistic or optimistic that they could get back to their normal routine in 2021, though genders revealed a different level of this enthusiasm: 63% of adult men noted this optimism,compared with just under half (49%) of adult women.

Again, there’s a similar picture when it comes to the speed with which normality will return, with young and male consumers optimistic that they will resume previous lifestyle within 2021. However, the outlook is generally positive across the population with less than a fifth of consumers pessimistic about returning to normality, in 2021, in any category.

Marketers, are you ready?

As restrictions are lifted across the UK, and confidence revives, it will be key to have a well thought out plan in place for kickstarting the marketing for your brand. However, we’re in uncharted territory, so remaining flexible and having the appetite (and budget!) to jump on short-term opportunities is also advisable.

Clearly, as the data above demonstrates, every brand will have to vary it’s approach dependent on sector and target audience.

We’ve created a shortlist of 4 priority areas of focus that you should be building into your planning:

  • Understand the changes in your customer base
  • Develop a competitive advantage
  • Integrating digital into your customer journey
  • Innovating to drive growth

Click to download our excellent Strategic Guide to Marketing during Coronavirus.