COVID-19 Consumer Survey: August 2021

The August 2021 omnibus survey compares consumer trends against previous omnibus results. This omnibus continues to survey consumers within the UK and USA, however also includes Mexican consumers this round to gain a new perspective.

Together with the help of our research partner, and the technology platform that provided us with panels, Cint, surveyed 700 general population respondents in each of the UK, USA and Mexico to understand the impact of a pandemic on consumers’ behaviour.The August 2021 survey focuses on three main topics: Consumption trends since the COVID-19 crisis, consumer attitudes regarding sustainable sourcing, and consumer concerns regarding economics and inflation.

From May 2020 to August 2021, consumers have continued to report a downward trend in negative moods. Consumers are increasingly shopping online, reversing the decline seen in December 2020.

In terms of sustainability, consumers continue to express concern regarding the sourcing and composition of their products, with consumers in Mexico typically expressing stronger environmentally friendly preferences.

Here are the top trends from August 2021:

Mood improves in the UK

As consumers adjust to life during the pandemic, feelings of worry, frustration and anxiety are continuing their downward trend from May 2020 in the UK. Restrictions were generally being relaxed across the UK, which may have contributed to the downward trend in negative emotions felt by consumers. Consumers in the US have reported a slight increase in feelings of anxiety and worry from March 2021, though it is still lower than their reported levels in December 2020.

Consumer mood during COVID-19

Consumers expect to allocate a higher proportion of their income towards savings

Respondents were asked to consider their allocation of income both before and after the COVID-19 crisis. Across all three countries, consumers are allocating a higher proportion of their income towards savings and investments. Within the UK, consumers report to spend less on entertainment and rent. USA consumers have decreased their spending on shopping, while Mexican respondents have also found reduced spending on transportation and eating out.

Consumer income allocation during COVID-19

Continued shift to an online economy

Even with lockdown restrictions being lifted across the US and UK, consumers have continued to heavily rely on online purchases for clothing, groceries, and food delivery. The August 2021 survey showed that online purchasing of clothing and food delivery are continuing to rise in both the US and UK, reversing the decrease reported in December 2020. Online grocery shopping remains stable in the UK, but has seen a decline in the US from March 2021.

Consumers increasingly shop online during COVID-19

Sustainability and sustainable sourcing

Consumers willing to pay more for sustainable products

Despite concern over inflation and increased costs of living, consumers in all three countries continue to support sustainable sourcing of products. The majority of consumers in all three countries are willing to pay at least 10% more for products that are sustainably produced.

Willingness to pay for sustainable products

Continued preference for sustainable practices

Consumers in the UK and Mexico have a stronger preference for unpackaged products, however, USA consumers prefer pre-packaged products. Consumer preferences are generally unchanged by COVID-19 in the UK and USA. Consumers in Mexico, however, reported stronger preference for both pre-packaged and unpackaged products during COVID-19.

Sustainable purchasing trends

Sustainable sourcing

Consumers in the US, UK, and Mexico have reported stronger preference for reusable products compared to before the pandemic. Fewer consumers in the UK and US are reporting indifference towards purchasing reusable products. In Mexico, consumers have shifted away from preference of non-reusables and indifference towards preference for reusable products.

Differences in sustainable preferences

Economic Concerns

The majority of consumers have concerns regarding inflation

Among all countries surveyed, the majority of consumers are concerned regarding economic inflation. This is most noticeable within Mexico, where 82% of respondents have some concern regarding inflation, while 51% are extremely concerned. In all countries, the vast majority of respondents have noticed an increase in prices during the last 12 months.

Inflation concerns across countries

Continued pressure from increasing costs

Majority of consumers in the USA, UK and Mexico have noticed an increase in price for food, utilities, and fuel in the past 12 months. The increasing costs of living are leading to a majority of consumers in these countries being concerned about the inflation they are experiencing.

Areas where consumers have noticed price increases

View the full survey results

Download a copy of COVID-19 Consumer Survey: August survey results.

Written on 1 September 2021 by:
Hugh Zhao image
Hugh Zhao
Market Research

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