Fresh evidence has emerged of the changing face of Britain during Covid-19, with takeaway outlets, broadcasters and TikTok all benefiting as pandemic-weary consumers feasted on fast food, TV and the Internet to sit out – quite literally, it seems – the pandemic.
The IPA TouchPoints 2021, released today, highlights the ways in which Lockdown 3.0 affected the lifestyles, media choices and communication habits of UK consumers between now, the first lockdown last year and before coronavirus took hold.
It reveals that 45% more people got takeaways and 17% spent more time watching TV in Lockdown 3.0, while the amount of 15- to 24-year-olds using TikTok surged by 212%.
According to the comprehensive TouchPoints dataset, the amount of people ordering takeaways or food deliveries during Lockdown 1.0 in 2020 rose by 5.5% compared to pre-Covid 2020 (14.5% to 15.3%).
This figure, however, surged 45% in Lockdown 3.0, with more than a fifth (21%) of the population turning to their local outlets such as A Fish Called Rhondda, Holy Phok, Bapman and the Indian Cottage Tandoori, as well as mainstream brands, for “comfort” food.
This trend is echoed among 15- to 24-year-olds. The proportion of this age group getting takeaways during the first lockdown rose by 11.4% compared to pre-Covid 2020 (21.9% to 24.4%). Again though, this figure surged in Lockdown 3.0, by 38.8% to reach 30.4%.
Supporting these findings, when analysing how consumers are using the Internet, TouchPoints 2021 data reveals that there was an 87% increase in searches for fast food/delivery between pre-lockdown 2020 and Lockdown 3.0 (from 7% to 13%).
Coupled with Brits’ increased appetite for fast food deliveries, there was a significant shift in viewing habits.
Looking at the figures related to the percentage of time people spent on media each day, there was a 15% increase in people watching any TV or video on any device in Lockdown 3.0 compared with pre-Covid. The share of total media time taken by viewing increased from 33% to 37%, as people turned to TVs and digital devices for news, entertainment and something to fill their time.
Drilling into the TouchPoints figures further, it is clear that TV viewing drove the rise in overall viewing figures, with consumers watching any form of TV for an average 4hrs 29 minutes a day, up 17% from pre-lockdown 2020 (3hrs 50 minutes).
The TouchPoints 2021 data also reveals generational trends as to how the different age groups watched TV and video during Lockdown 3.0. Looking at all adults, the data reveals that 66% of TV and video viewing was live or recorded, however, when you break this down this rises to 89% for over 55s but just 27% among 15 to 34s.
Meanwhile, 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 was up to a 40% share for 15 to 34s compared to 5% for over 55s (19% for all adults).
In terms of other significant generational trends revealed by the 2021 data, the popularity of TikTok soared for 15 to 24s, reaching 43% of them, up significantly from 13% in pre-Covid times and 30% in Lockdown 1.0. For all adults this stood at 11.5% in Lockdown 3.0, up from 4.1% in pre Covid and 7.3% in Lockdown 1.0.
Further findings reveal there was a 31% increase in the number of people doing DIY in Lockdown 1.0 and a 12.3% increase in DIY in Lockdown 3.0 compared to pre-Covid, showing that some motivation for home improvement remained in 2021 lockdown.
Meanwhile, the number of people practising mindfulness/meditation increased by 14.1% in Lockdown 1.0, but fell by 7% in Lockdown 3.0, marking an 18.5% decrease between the two lockdown periods.
IPA research director Belinda Beeftink commented: “These latest figures provide tangible evidence on our suspected hunches and reveal consumers’ real hunger for video content and fast food. It also reveals interesting insights into how some good intentions from the first lockdown perhaps slipped into bad habits in lockdown 2021, as we grew increasingly weary and less communicative.”
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