Brits can’t wait to start spending as pandemic restrictions ease

shopping post-pandemic

UK consumers are keen to get out and spend more of their cash as restrictions around the COVID19 pandemic lift and businesses reopen. 

That’s according to a new report from digital media firm Integral Ad Science called Pandemic Effects: Shifting Consumer Priorities. 

The research examines how UK consumer behaviour and spending habits will change as COVID-19 restrictions ease, providing insights for marketers on how they can best engage consumers through digital channels.

Post pandemic shopping & social habits

The majority (92%) of UK consumers plan to continue at least one habit formed during lockdown periods after restrictions have been lifted, the study found. 

In fact, almost half (49%) of consumers will continue online shopping, and more than four in ten (45%) will continue using contactless payment methods.

Despite the majority (80%) of Brits now feeling more comfortable doing social activities, two in five (40%) remain concerned over confusing or conflicting guidelines for social gatherings and more than one in ten (15%) will not engage in social activities as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

spending shift

UK consumers keen to spend on restaurants & travel

Consumers are keen on spending as establishments open up, with over a quarter (27%) reporting more savings since lockdown, and over a third (38%) anticipating that their spending will increase in the next year.

Specifically, consumers will likely spend towards experiences such as restaurants/dining (43%), travel (40%), and entertainment (35%). 

Retail purchases post-pandemic will be split equally between physical stores and online channels for half (51%) of consumers. 

dramatic shift

Additionally, six in ten (60%) of shoppers confirmed that they will make a conscious effort to support small and local businesses.

Marketers poised to engage

More than half (54%) of consumers believe that online advertising will play an important role in helping them find information on the products and services available to them post-pandemic. 

To source this information, almost half (45%) will use search engines, while more than a third (37%) will use social media sites and apps.

Looking ahead, one in two (51%) Brits believe it is important that online advertisements appear in safe and reputable sites. 

ads on reputable sites

In addition, almost half (49%) of consumers want ads to be relevant to the content that they are consuming, and a similar amount of consumers (47%) want this content to heavily feature a promotional or discount message.

Furthermore, almost half (44%) of consumers believe that online advertisements should highlight a brand’s commitment to certain social issues and advocacy, while two in five (40%) want ads to recommend products and promotions based on what they have previously purchased.

“It’s clear that habits established during recent national lockdowns will have a lasting impact on consumers’ social and shopping activities post-pandemic,” said Nick Morley, EMEA MD at Integral Ad Science (IAS). 

Hybrid shopping experiences

“With the majority of UK consumers looking for a hybrid shopping experience as further restrictions are lifted, brands are presented with an opportunity to align their online and offline strategies to ensure that they’re reaching reinvigorated shoppers. 

“Our study shows that safe, suitable, and contextually relevant advertising will be important to engage and build preference among these consumers. 

“Ad environments must be considered from both a contextual and sentiment perspective to drive a much-needed boost in post-pandemic retail revenues and capture long-term consumer interest.”

IAS surveyed over 500 UK internet users in June 2021, to understand how consumer behaviour has changed in the past year and how this will evolve as local restrictions surrounding COVID-19 are eased.