Covid-19 nation: Brits go healthy but still love a drink

beerIt seems that celebrities are not the only ones using lockdown to fight the flab, more of more consumers are now pursuing healthier lifestyles, and trying to get fit, but one thing has not changed – Brits still love a bevvy.

So says the latest IPA TouchPoints data, which delivers an in-depth comparison of consumers’ lives and their media use pre-and post-lockdown and reveals a significant shift in the way we behave as a nation in the UK, impacting everything from our emotional state to how we consume content.

As we adapt to the ‘new normal’ there has, unsurprisingly, been a dramatic change in how we spend our day. We are getting up later and sleeping nearly 15 minutes a day longer on average, with 25–34s increasing their sleep time the most (an additional 27 minutes more each day). We are spending more time with our children (an additional 17 minutes a day), spending more time with our hobbies (an additional 13 minutes a day) and spending longer preparing food (an additional 13 minutes a day).

Perhaps the biggest change in our daily routines has been the demise of face-to-face communication (down 1 hour and 40 minutes each day) and the rise of video calling, which has doubled in reach and seen the average adult spend 20 minutes more each day on video chats. Overall, time spent socialising is down by 42%.

The way we consume media has also changed significantly since lockdown began. Time spent watching live broadcast TV has increased by 20 minutes a day, while there have also been increases in the number of people (up 11%) and amount time spent (an additional 15 minutes a day) watching paid for on demand video such as Netflix or Amazon Prime.

However, there has also been a significant and potentially damaging effect on our emotional state. There have been decreases in the amount of time spent feeling confident (down 46%), and happy (down 11%) and a 31% increase in time spent feeling sad. This fall in the amount of time spent feeling happy equates to three hours and 9 minutes less per week than before lockdown started.

Those aged 65+ are the most emotionally affected since the start of lockdown, reporting the highest levels of increase in time spent feeling sad (up 46%) and angry (up 41%) along with reductions in time spent feeling happy (down 14%).

Even so, the lockdown appears to be having a positive impact on our desire to live a healthier lifestyle. Since lockdown began, there has been a 9% increase in the number of people saying that they ‘like to keep fit’ and a 16% increase in the number of people actively trying to reach the recommended five pieces of fruit and veg each day.

People seem to be putting this healthier mind-set into practice, with more people exercising (up 17%) and for longer, equating to an additional one hour 27 minutes per week. The number of people stating a preference for organic food has increased by 21%.

This healthier attitude does not appear to have extended to alcohol consumption, however, with no change to the number of people drinking.

The lockdown has also put companies under the microscope more than ever before, with a 24% increase in the number of people who will avoid ‘unethical’ brands, while 73% of adults are concerned about the amount of unnecessary packaging used on consumer goods.

IPA research director Belinda Beeftink said: “The lockdown has, as expected, caused rapid and significant changes in our behaviours and general media consumption. Where the biggest surprises lie are in the attitudes and emotional state of the nation.

“While it remains to be seen if these behavioural shifts will remain after lockdown eases, the essential challenge for brands going forward will be in how they are communicating with consumers – were they there when they needed them, did they get their tone of voice right, did they use too much packaging, were they environmentally unaware and did they align their ethics with the sentiments of the nation?”

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