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Market research sheds light on what consumers want amid Covid-19 (and they want to hear from you)

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How do you read consumer sentiment when there is no precedent for the situation we’re in? Quite simply, ask the consumers.

The UK has a vibrant market research industry which we often call on to give insights into specific trends or areas of the market. As lockdown began, researchers sprung into action to help companies navigate the coming weeks and months.

Research company Censuswide contacted us with its findings from a post-lockdown consumer survey. For firms feeling nervous about whether to communicate through the crisis, the resulting report makes for an interesting read.

In the survey of more than 2,000 people, 58 per cent said the way brands behaved through the Covid-19 crisis would affect their future spending. It was important to 68 per cent of people that brands published positive news during this time. For 59 per cent, it was important that brands offered more diverse content than usual.

When it comes to trust, 48 per cent of people said this would be negatively affected if a brand ignored the current situation. And perhaps most interestingly, 39 per cent of people said they would trust a brand more if they released a positive news story, while 24 per cent said this would encourage them to spend more with the brand.

A quick Google search for ‘consumer sentiment Covid-19’ will reveal yet more intel. Last week, Ipsos MORI published the results of a survey on how people are spending lockdown. This found that 47 per cent of people were spending more time on social media; 39 per cent were gardening more; 33 per cent were reading books; closely followed by playing board games and trying new types of exercise (both 25 per cent).

This tells us that social media audiences are significantly more engaged than previously and gives valuable if not surprising lifestyle insight, confirming that gardens and outdoor spaces are where people are spending much of their time.

Meanwhile, PwC reports that consumer sentiment in the UK in April has risen following a steep drop in March. The largest upturn was among under 25s, with 55 to 64-year-olds feeling most negative. According to the report, these results suggest the retail and leisure sector could enjoy a steady recovery once the lockdown is lifted.

This all builds a picture of how consumers are feeling – and coping – which can help to guide your actions as a business and your communications. Yet with so much information out there, it is important to approach it with some caution.

In the same way you would look to a trusted news source for information, turn to reputable sources of market research using a large sample size. Also, be sure to view the results in a broader context. It would be easy but dangerous to simply seek out answers that you hope to see, especially regarding sentiment.

To find out more about your own customer base and its sentiment, there is no substitute for commissioning bespoke research, which can be achieved quickly and at relatively low cost. This route offers the freedom to drill down on the questions that matter most to your business and to direct your questions to a sample of people that reflects your target audience – or to your own database of customers.

The availability of market research findings is not new, but its relevance has come to the fore in recent weeks. If you would like to know more about how market research could help your business, we’d be happy to advise. Email hello@libertypr.co.uk.


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