Nearly 75 Percent of UK Residents Surveyed Don’t Feel Ready for Coronavirus


Toluna survey reveals anxiety over families, health and travel

LONDON, UK, March 18, 2020 – Toluna, a leading consumer intelligence platform that delivers insights on demand, and Harris Interactive, a full-service digital consultative market research agency, today announced new findings from surveyed UK residents on the coronavirus pandemic.

The research revealed that only 35 percent of UK respondents feel knowledgeable about the coronavirus and, worryingly, only 26 percent of this same group feels prepared for a coronavirus outbreak in their local area.

With 98 percent of UK respondents aware of the coronavirus, nearly 40 percent say they are extremely or very concerned about the infection.

Four in ten people surveyed (39 percent) are worried about their family and friends who travel for work purposes and the world at large (38 percent) and one-third of respondents are anxious about travelling and the risks posed to their own health.

“We were able to reach out to UK residents in our panel community using qualitative and quantitative research methodologies and determine their thoughts about the coronavirus and consequential impact,” said Lucia Juliano, Head of UK CPG & Retail Research for Harris Interactive. “The high levels of anxiety around the virus and the rapidly changing environment is reflected in how consumers are altering both their behaviour and purchasing patterns for consumer-packaged goods.”

Since the outbreak, 41 percent of respondents have purchased specific hygiene products to help protect them from catching COVID-19. Almost 80 percent of those items include hand sanitiser, hand soap was next at 64 percent and disinfectant at 49 percent. Over one-third of those questioned (37 percent) reported buying face masks and disposable latex gloves (36 percent).

The Toluna and Harris Interactive research revealed that over half of UK respondents have changed their day-to-day behaviour since the virus started making headlines by avoiding crowds (30 percent) and  adjusting travel (19 percent). A further 32 percent of those surveyed have considered making changes to upcoming travel arrangements.

From a health anxiety perspective, 50 percent of those responding to the survey said that they are more concerned about COVID-19 than they are about the seasonal flu virus. However, a good proportion of this population, half of all survey respondents, believe the government is taking appropriate measures to mitigate the spread and impact of the coronavirus.

In terms of other changes in behaviour, 30 percent of people surveyed said they have changed where they buy their food or considering changing where they usually go for their groceries. One quarter of this same group are also considering adjustments to their personal finance arrangements or have already done so.

Juliano concluded that: “It’s clear anxiety levels around the spread of the infection are high. Solutions including Toluna QuickSurveys can help companies stay ahead of quickly changing public opinion. Ninety percent of the surveyed population is concerned about the impact coronavirus will have, not just on their health and that of their loved ones, but also how they go about their daily lives in terms of where they travel, where they buy their food and even what financial investments they make now and in the future.”

Please click here for an infographic of our findings.

Notes to Editors:

About the Research

Toluna and Harris gathered insights into the 2019 novel coronavirus (abbreviated “COVID-19”). Toluna surveyed 1020 people in the UK on 9 March 2020.

About Toluna

Toluna is a technology company connecting brands with consumers for digital qualitative and quantitative research. We deliver insights on demand through a full spectrum of end-to-end solutions that map customer journeys, develop new products and much more. Toluna is powered by an innovative platform, best-in-class methodologies and a community panel that is 30+ million members strong. An ITWP company, we employ 1,400 people in 24 offices across six continents. Please visit us at

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive Europe is an award-winning, full service digital research consultancy that makes complex decision easier by providing actionable consumer insights. We offer the perfect combination of research expertise and technology to keep our clients ahead of whatever is next in their industries. Our strengths include brand, new product development and consumer and employee research in both B2B and B2C markets. For more information on Harris Interactive Europe, an ITWP company, please visit