Medialab COVID Insights | 25.06.20

As further unlocking of the economy is announced, with bars, restaurants and much-needed hairdressers allowed to re-open on 4th July, and the possibility of a (UK) summer holiday on the horizon, our seventh Medialab COVID-19 Insights Report sets out changes to our audiences’ lives across the main themes of the crisis so far.

A long period of financial constraint

April’s fall in GDP is the biggest the UK has ever seen. In April the economy was around 25% smaller than in February. In May 2020 inflation fell to 0.5% (vs the Bank of England target of 2%) – the lowest rate since June 2016. Falling petrol and diesel prices, plus lower costs for items such as board games or game consoles, were the main reasons inflation fell.

COVID-19 is also having a clear effect on unemployment, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics. UK Unemployment Benefit Claimant Count has increased by 125.9% since March 2020 (ONS 16th June Release). May data from the Resolution Foundation shows that the youngest employees are being most severely affected.

The ongoing impact of social distance

Social distancing continues (albeit with a reduction to 1m+ coming soon), and with it, the discomfort around international travel, shopping centres and shopping in physical stores (non-grocery) remains high. Distancing and lockdown are also making us, officially, a bit sadder. The latest data from Touchpoints paints a rather sad picture of our mood in lockdown, with the outdoors offering some welcome respite.

Some brands are taking interesting approaches to take the contact out of commerce – Pearl and Dean are soon to be introducing their first series of drive in cinemas, whilst US rapper Travis Scott performed a live set inside the online game ‘Fortnite’ and more than 12m players took part in the spectacle.

Community

When the COVID-19 crisis started, Community was most strongly associated with the NHS, supermarket workers (and other key workers keeping us going), and the elderly (both WWII heroes and those in care homes). As the crisis has evolved, the meaning of community has shifted focus to BAME communities, working mums and those people on low incomes. Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority people are up to twice as likely to die of coronavirus in the UK than white British people are, a review has concluded. For working mums, policy is failing to recognise or meet their needs during the COVID-19 pandemic and, without immediate action by government, many women could lose their jobs or pay as they struggle to balance work and care, according to a new TUC report. And lastly, the government were pushed to make a U-turn and provide food vouchers for low income families over the summer, under pressure spearheaded by Manchester United footballer, Marcus Rashford.

Online before offline

Online habits have changed in Lockdown, across age ranges, with signs that they are here to stay. Video calls during the crisis have risen for all ages, and online supermarket shopping has become the norm. 27% of new online shoppers, when asked to what extent they would continue using online shopping after lockdown, said they would do all their grocery shopping online, whilst only 14% said they would do none online (Dunnhumby).

A new way of working

New ways of working, driven by social distancing, are something that many of us have experienced. However, they aren’t evenly distributed. According to YouGov’s report in mid-May: “There have been complaints from some quarters that the terms of the lockdown protect the middle class, whose jobs are more easily done from home, while forcing the working class to risk exposure by continuing to go to their workplaces. The data backs this up. Among workers in ABC1 households, 53% say they are now working from home full time. This figure is just 22% in C2DE households. By contrast, four in ten workers from C2DE homes (40%) say they aren’t working from home at all, compared to only 16% of ABC1 workers who say the same.”

This COVID Insights report, along with the rest in the series is powered by Apollo, our data marketing platform, which hosts the Apollo Lockdown Live Dashboard. The dashboard provides users with a daily update on how audiences are searching online. It covers work, movement and travel, interests, social contact, and competitor activity. It aims to highlight important changes in these areas over the last 90 days. You can register for access to the dashboard at the following page: https://medialabgroup.co.uk/apollo/