We recently commissioned some research with over 4,550 members of the Hearst panel to understand our communities’ experience of Covid-19 and their hopes for the year ahead.
When I set about analysing the data, I was struck by how overwhelming positive our audience are. They have embraced the complexity of the last 6 months and used this period to look more deeply at their values and routines. Over 50% have tried something new and the majority plan to keep doing these things.
Off the back of these experiences, 71% now have an increased appreciation of the outdoors and 78% recognise the importance of mental health. 54% have taken up a new form of exercise and 52% have invested in their home environment through some kind of DIY intervention. To be clear, I am not saying that our audience have found this period easy, but they have made the best of the situation.
The research reminded me of an article written by Arundhati Roy for the FT?that was recently turned into a film by Global Goals and shared by Alan Jope, the CEO of Unilever, on LinkedIn. In the original article, Roy argued that “pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew.” She described them as “portals” that act as “gateways between one world and the next.”
Roy’s article was focused on some of the bigger challenges facing society like the climate crisis and society’s deep-seated racial injustices. But the truth is that we have all had to make a lot of choices over recent months and change our habits and routines. We are still in the midst of the pandemic and are trying to work out what our new future will look like. As Kantar has shown in their regular COVID Barometer, consumers are choosing brands that align with their values and are seeking those that will guide them into the next world we create.
One of the things that we have looked at in the research is the idea of making resolutions and setting goals for the year ahead. Normally, according to YouGov only 27% of the UK population choose to make resolutions or set goals for the year ahead. Interestingly, amongst Hearst’s community this increases to 41% in a normal year. However, when asked about 2021, over half (57%) plan to make a resolution and this is even higher for our younger audiences. Their sights are set on making improvements around their health, nutrition, homes and finances. As a business that is focused on helping our community to get the most of life, we clearly have a role to play in the months ahead and have some big plans to help our consumers in these areas.
While it feels like we have lived through a lot of change over the last few months, a recent piece of research from IPSOS implies that we might be at the start of the journey. The research showed that 43% of Brits are considering making major changes to their lives. We found that a similar number (42%) are keen to reset the clock and embrace new possibilities in 2021. The road ahead is going to be bumpy and full of unexpected challenges. What is certain is that consumers are on the move and that brands need to understand their motivations if they want to have a chance of keeping up, let alone shaping the agenda.
Download our infographic for access to our exclusive data and to?find out how our?consumer’s attitudes?are evolving when it comes to their relationship with food, fitness, health, hobbies, finance and homes, as we look ahead?into 2021.
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Download our infographic to find out how our consumer’s attitudes are evolving when it comes to their relationship with food, fitness, health, hobbies, finance and homes, as we look ahead into 2021.