How ready are consumers to resume old habits?

How ready are consumers to resume old habits?

Understanding consumer choices during this uncertain period of adjustment is key to marketing success says Christine Matthews, head of customer success at Kantar’s media division

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7th November, 2021

With Ireland gradually easing its way out of pandemic-related restrictions since the spring and most constraints on daily life now cast aside, consumer sectors of all kinds are starting to find out how ready (or not) consumers are to resume activities they enjoyed before the lockdowns began.

Marketers are looking for ways they can tempt people back to social activities, from shopping to cinema going and everything in-between. To do so effectively they need to understand how consumers in Ireland today feel about undertaking activities where they will inevitably come across large numbers of other people and what lingering concerns they may have.

Kantar’s latest Republic of Ireland TGI consumer data reveals which activities Ireland’s consumers have already resumed, which they are more wary about returning to, and what general pandemic-related worries they have.

Shopping leads the way in post-pandemic activities resumed. The top activities consumers claim to have already done since restrictions were lifted are oriented around everyday shopping activities and are led by visiting the local shopping street (55% have done this), visiting a retail park or shopping centre (49 per cent) and going to the hairdressers or barbers (46 per cent).

Younger consumers are most likely to have already resumed activities with the lifting of restrictions. For example, 41% of those aged 15-24 claim to have eaten outside at a café or restaurant post-lockdown, compared to only 17 per cent of those aged 45-54.

Indoor activities in close proximity to others appear to cause most anxiety. The activities causing most concern tend to be in an enclosed indoor space very close to other people. Top of the list is cinema, which 21% of consumers have concerns about visiting. This is followed by live indoor music events/gigs (18 per cent) and going to the theatre (16 per cent).

When thinking about activities they might return to, the issue consumers are most commonly ‘very concerned’ about is the possibility that other people do not follow safety measures. Some 40% of adults say they are very concerned about this. It is followed by worry about the venue not adopting appropriate safety measures, which is a big concern for 33% of adults, and having a vulnerable family member or friend (32%).

Canny marketers will seek to allay these fears in their messaging by assuring their target consumers of robust measures to minimise risk. It is also important to note that different consumers are likely to have very different worries and marketers should tailor messaging appropriately depending on the target.

For example, young people aged 15-24 are a third more likely than the average adult to be worried about resuming activities because their income is uncertain at the moment. Whereas those aged 65+, are 37% more likely than the average adult to worry that safety measures won’t be followed by everyone.

Understanding how to reach and engage the groups most likely to return to spending will be key. The reality is that some people will remain reluctant to return to activities for some time yet. Others, however, show a keenness to resume old practices once it is safe to do so and many marketers will be keen to focus on such groups as the strongest prospects for engagement.

Indeed, almost half of Irish adults claim that the vaccination will enable them to return to their normal spending habits, with 52% (over 2 million people) claiming the pandemic has given them a chance to save more money. This creates new opportunities for marketers as we exit the pandemic and society reopens, as large numbers of consumers with unplanned savings finally have the opportunity to spend this money. They anticipate spending ‘a lot of money’ in the next six months on going on holiday, buying a new home and buying a new car.

About TGI consumer data

TGI consumer data provides insights into consumer behaviour, interests, attitudes, product use and media consumption – all built on a robust representative sample of more than 4,000 adults in the Republic of Ireland and 2,500 adults in Northern Ireland, who have filled in the TGI survey. This data is used daily by Ireland’s most prominent advertising agencies, media owners and advertisers to understand and reach their key consumer targets.

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