TV viewership up 17% in lockdown
UK consumers spent 17% more time watching TV of any form compared to before the first lockdown in 2020, with consumption up 15% during the latest national lockdown alone.
According to the IPA’s TouchPoints 2021 data, the share of total media time taken by TV viewing increased from 33% to 37%, as people turned to TV and digital devices for news and entertainment during the 2021 lockdown. Some 66% of TV and video viewing among UK adults was live or recorded, although there is a clear generational divide with 89% of over-55s tuning in, versus 27% of those aged 15 to 34.
Shorter and longer online video took a 19% share of all TV and video viewing for 15 to 34s, compared to 7% for all adults and just 1% for over-55s. Paid-for on demand video claimed a 40% share for 15 to 34s, compared to 5% for over-55s and 19% for all adults.
Another key finding from the IPA data is the boom in takeaway and food delivery brought on by the Covid-19 induced lockdowns. The amount of people ordering takeaways or food deliveries during the first lockdown in 2020 rose by 5.5% compared to pre-pandemic levels and then surged by 45% during the 2021 lockdown.
The number of 15 to 24s ordering takeaways during the first lockdown rose by 11.4% versus pre-Covid, although this figure rose 38.8% during the 2021 lockdown to 30.4% of consumers within this age bracket.
Beer is Brits’ favourite alcoholic drink
While 39% of Brits say they drank less during the pandemic, just under a third (30%) say they consumed more alcohol to cope with the stresses of lockdown. For 26% of respondents, the pandemic did not change their drinking habits at all, and 4.6% stopped drinking completely.
Beer is the most popular beverage (33%), followed by wine (21%), gin (13%), vodka (9.4%) and cider (7%).
Most people are open to trying new beverages, with 35% saying they enjoy craft beer and small-batch gin, while 51% say they pick up such drinks only now and then. More than 15% have never tried craft beverages.
On brands, 64% stay loyal to a select group of their favourites, 29% don’t have a preference and 8% stick to one brand.
Online grocery sales slow as UK lockdown eases
Online grocery sales growth has slowed as shoppers return to supermarket stores following the easing of the UK’s national lockdown.
Online grocery sales eased off by 25% after “supercharged” growth over the past 12 months, with sales remaining above 70% since the start of lockdown in March 2020.
In the last four weeks (ending 24 April) lockdown restrictions eased and shopper confidence began to return, with visits to stores up 3% – the first increase in a year and an improvement on April’s decline of -19%.
Despite the rise in visits to bricks-and-mortar stores, spend per visit is declining, resulting in in-store spend being flat at £8bn. Online grocery sales remained strong at £1.3bn and online share of grocery sales remained relatively stable at 14.2%.
Following changes to consumer lifestyles, health and beauty sales grew 27% year-on-year, followed by fresh goods such as deli (28%) and bakery (15.5%) products. Although the hospitality sector is only partially reopened, sales of beers, wines and spirits are up 9%.
Retailers’ carbon emissions fall by almost 50%
There has been a 49% drop in carbon emissions from leading retailers since 2005, almost double the initial target of 25%.
There were also notable drops in carbon emissions in stores (46%) and store deliveries (84%) when controlled for growth.
Some 70 retailers have pledged to help the UK retail industry and its supply chains reach net zero operations by 2040, including Sainsbury’s, Iceland, Ikea, Mountain Warehouse, Dunelm and Feelunique. The BRC’s Climate Action Roadmap will be chaired by Co-op Group CEO Steve Murrells and is also supported by Crown Estate, DP World, Google, IBM and PwC.
Majority of Brits wants to listen more
Eight out of 10 Brits want to put their differences aside and come together as a nation, at a time when polarising topics such as Brexit and the pandemic are hot button issues.
Although 74% of people say they admit to not listening enough, 75% want to make a concerted effort to understand different perspectives.
Two-thirds of respondents say they use various news sources to make an informed opinion, while 61% say news brands help promote important campaigns, such as Marcus Rashford’s free school meals initiative.
The study also shows there is a greater sense of identity and positivity around being British with respondents putting the NHS as the number one symbol of Britishness, followed by the Queen and the wider Royal Family in third.
However, more people are identifying themselves as Scottish, Welsh, Irish or English, rather than being from the United Kingdom or Great Britain – up from 5% in 2017 to 26% at the end of 2020.