COVID-19: Consumer Behaviour Insights
This resource features two significant surveys from the RSA and Global WebIndex exploring social, environmental, and consumer behaviour change since the COVID-19 pandemic. The RSA survey found that only 9% of adults in the UK want things to go back to exactly how they were. So, place stakeholders will need to understand how people’s behaviour and attitudes have changed since the crisis, in order to design and manage places which people will want to return to.
RSA survey: 'Time for Change'
GlobalWebIndex: 'Multi-Market Research'
This resource contains key findings from two surveys designed to find out more about the social, environmental, and consumer behaviour changes seen since the COVID-19 pandemic: the first a UK-based YouGov survey commissioned by the Royal Society for the Arts (RSA); and the second, a GlobalWebIndex (GWI) survey conducted across 13 countries. As the Institute of Place Management’s (IPM) Post-COVID19 Framework for Recovery advises, sharing and analysing data is crucial for understanding the impact of COVID-19 on places, as well as planning for future recovery. The RSA survey found that only 9% of adults in the UK want things to go back to exactly how things were. So place stakeholders will need to understand how people’s behaviour and attitudes have changed since the crisis, in order to design and manage places which people will want to return to.
Some headline findings:
- RSA survey: 51% of adults have noticed cleaner air. Recent Institute of Place Management articles have identified the importance of greenspace during the crisis; and it has also been suggested that European cities will likely make less room for cars in the future. Is this what the places of the future will look like, and, if so, what changes need to be made to make our centres more pedestrian and cyclist friendly?
- RSA survey: 40% of adults feel a stronger sense of community. The IPM – lead partner of the High Streets Task Force – have long encouraged collaboration and partnership working. Place leaders will need to think about how they can create places which encourage (safe) sociality, to continue this renewed sense of community.
- RSA survey: 38% are cooking more from scratch, and 6% have ordered food from a local farm for the first time. There is evidence to suggest that more people are relying on local food shops and producers since the pandemic. How can local food providers ensure this continues beyond the COVID-19 crisis, when people might be travelling further outside of their local catchment again.
- GWI survey: 95% of consumers are spending more time on in-home media consumption. Place leaders, particularly those working in the areas of events, arts, and entertainment and leisure, will have to consider whether this rise in home entertainment is a short-term behavioural shift due to lockdowns; or will persist into the future. How might events and other place activators have to be redesigned so people feel safe enough to socialise on the high street again?
- GWI survey: 40% of consumers are delaying large purchases. Uncertainty about the future has dented consumer confidence, causing many larger purchases (e.g. holidays) to be delayed until this is restored post-crisis. How might those working in the tourism industry or holiday towns help to restore some of that consumer confidence; or perhaps enhance their provision for local communities?
 RSA. (2020). “Time for Change”. Royal Society for the Arts. Accessible via: https://www.thersa.org/about-us/media/2019/brits-see-cleaner-air-stronger-social-bonds-and-changing-food-habits-amid-lockdown
 Global Web Index. (2020). “Coronavirus Research. Release 3: Multi-market research”. Global Web Index. Accessible via: https://www.globalwebindex.com/hubfs/1.%20Coronavirus%20Research%20PDFs/GWI%20coronavirus%20findings%20March%202020%20-%20Multi-Market%20data%20(Release%203).pdf
 Kalandides, A. (2020). “The importance of urban green in times of epidemics”. IPM Blog. Accessible via: http://blog.placemanagement.org/2020/04/11/the-importance-of-urban-green-in-times-of-epidemics/
 O’Sullivan, F. (2020). “Europe’s cities are making less room for cars after coronavirus”. CityLab. Accessible via: https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2020/04/coronavirus-reopen-cities-public-transit-car-free-bike-milan/610360/