Medialab July Trends Tracker

What will we think when we look back on July? Will it herald the end of life with COVID-19, or the start of a new period of instability? Government support for the CJRS begins to unwind this month, with many hundreds of thousands still on furlough. The government will lift all lockdown restrictions on 19th July, despite the likelihood of 50,000 new COVID-19 cases by that date. And with economic growth returning, the inequality exacerbated by the pandemic is set to continue.  At least we can all look forward to England in the final of the Euros!

In this month’s tracker we look at those who will gain and miss out, the impact on e-commerce, and updates from the media market.

The recovery will not be evenly distributed

Britain is bouncing back, and this year, is set for the strongest economic growth since WWII, as it stages a faster-than-expected recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. A recovery that is fuelled by returning consumer confidence, backed up by positive retail sales figures.

Although the signs look positive, not everyone will experience the benefits. Saving in the pandemic has been the privilege of the better off, so too will be spending post-pandemic. However, young people, many working mothers and those on low incomes have been hit hard by lockdown and may continue to struggle.

The housing marketing is at its highest level since 2014. New research from the Resolution Foundation shows that today’s young people need higher incomes to access home ownership than previous generations.

Changes to E-Commerce

Online CPAs have begun to rise, as lockdown ends, and our shopping habits begin to shift away from online only, and back to some mix of online and offline.

As McKinsey highlighted in their 2017 paper (The Consumer Growth Indicator), 87% of people shop around, so getting onto the initial consideration set in an online world is key. Yet in a post-pandemic world, budget cuts have largely fallen on branding building expenditure (WARC Marketer’s Toolkit 2021), which will significantly limit brands’ ability to build consideration.

To get onto audiences’ initial consideration list, brands are testing different approaches. L’Oreal, for example, is the latest brand to experiment with producing a TV series in the hopes that, by season two, it might be picked up by the likes of Netflix or Amazon. And Amazon have expanded its cashier-less stores to five in London. Are the stores an efficient new way of Amazon to do business, or a localised advertisement for the website? It will be interesting to see further expansion.

Media Updates

Thinkbox, the marketing body for commercial TV in the UK, has launched CFlight which provides users with a way of measuring reach and frequency. Developed by Sky, initially this measurement will be provided across their linear and VOD offerings, however later this year, both ITV and Channel 4 will come on stream with CFlight too.

In a less successful venture, GB News, the television news channel that claims to “lend an ear to some of Britain’s marginalised and overlooked voices” launched on Sunday 13th June. Whilst debuting with rating of 336,000 (beating rivals Sky News and BBC News) more recent figures show a substantial fall, with only a maximum of 32,000 people tuning for Great British Breakfast and Neil’s own flagship show attracting 31,000; some advertisers have been dismayed that their commercials appeared on the channel.

New research by Clear Channel, JCDecaux and Global highlighted the ‘fit’ of different formats to different communications objectives;

And looking back over the past 4 years, there has been a steady increase in ‘the amount of people consuming news content online – a sharp increase in March and April last year, but the long-term trend remains – more people are getting their news fix online than ever before.’ (Comscore).

This is a summary from a more detailed COVID Tracker. If you are an advertiser and would like to access the full version, please contact our Integration Director, Nick Parker, at nick.parker@medialabgroup.co.uk.