70% of people feel optimistic about the future despite over 40% being less well off – research reveals

A Toluna survey finds that the pandemic has created a ‘money savvy’ and more environmentally conscious generation

Harris Interactive / Toluna

At Toluna/Harris Interactive and KuRunData we’ve run a Consumer Barometer study every 2-3 weeks since March 2020. The study was intended to better understand consumer changes as they unfolded during the global pandemic. In doing so, we’ve learned that consumers have been resilient, focused on saving money, and cautious about the ongoing pandemic. Download the full report here.

Despite a year of restrictions and repeated lockdowns, people in the UK are feeling positive about the coming months:

  • 70% of those surveyed said they feel optimistic about the future
  • 65% of people are confident about spending money
  • 38% of those surveyed feel secure in their current job

When restrictions lift, many of us are looking forward to doing activities we haven’t enjoyed for a long time. When respondents were asked about what they’re planning to do first, in store shopping, dining out and personal care activities were high on the agenda:

  • 43% of people surveyed can’t wait to visit physical shops again and shop in store
  • 36% of people are looking forward to eating out
  • 35% plan of us to visit a hairdresser as soon as they’re able to

We’ve also pledged to:

  • Eat more healthy food (27%) with 46% of us planning to cook healthier meals
  • Be more environmentally conscious (21%)

However, as we continue to move out of lockdown only 17% are planning to return to the workplace and just 14% said they’ll return to the gym once it reopens, demonstrating just how much the pandemic has altered how we live and our approach to aspects of everyday life including work and health and fitness.

These days, we’re also thinking more carefully about money and how we spend and save it. Out of those surveyed:

  • 44% of people said Covid-19 has made them save more money to prepare for a rainy day
  • 36% of us vow to be better at budgeting
  • Nearly 3 in 10 (27%) of us have paid off or are planning to pay off debts since the pandemic started
  • Nearly a fifth of people surveyed plan to put money into longer term investments (19%)

Finally, if we’ve learnt anything in the last 12 months, it’s what we value. This is especially true when it comes to brands and choosing brands to support and spend money. We want, and expect, brands to be more environmentally and socially conscious and behave in a compassionate and responsible way.

When asked about brand values, people in the UK hold a very strong view:

  • 84% of those surveyed believe brands should be accountable for their actions
  • A significant 79% of people said that they make a special effort to buy from brands that are aligned to their personal values
  • Tellingly, 68% have stopped supporting brands that don’t align with their personal values

When choosing brands, we’re very specific about what values we think brands should have:

  • 80% of people believe brands must be environmentally friendly and also humanitarian
  • 78% said it’s important that brands have a strong sense of community
  • 73% of those surveyed said it’s important that brands support racial equality
  • 71% also agreed that it’s important that brands support gender equality

Susan Vidler, UK Managing Director Harris Interactive: “Covid-19 has shaped our lives forever. Our approach to everyday activity from where we work and how we keep fit to where we spend our money and how we behave has changed. It’s helped to show what matters to people and changed their attitudes to certain behaviours. Now more than ever, how brands act and their social, moral and environmental actions are paramount. People highly value personal responsibility, which is evident in our approach to managing our finances and how we choose which brands to support and spend our money. If anything positive has resulted from the pandemic it’s that Covid-19 has taught us what matters and what we value in life.”


About Toluna

Toluna delivers real-time consumer insights at the speed of the on-demand economy. With a commitment to leading by technology innovation, Toluna revolutionizes market research and empowers clients with the agility to instantly conduct quantitative and qualitative research. By combining global scale and local expertise with innovative digital solutions and award-winning research design, Toluna helps clients explore tomorrow, now.

Toluna is the parent company of Harris Interactive Europe and KuRunData. Together, we strive to push market research toward a better tomorrow.

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