Posted on: 07 January 2021

COVID-19 measures in the UK

Across the UK, there are currently varying measures in place to prevent the spread of the virus. For the latest COVID-19 rules, regulations and measures, visit the government website of the country that you are based.

England: The latest guidance for businesses in England can be at the UK government website.

Northern Ireland: Northern Irish businesses can find the most up to date guidance at the Northern Irish Department of Health website.

Scotland: For the latest updates for Scottish businesses, visit the Scottish government’s website.

Wales: Business based in Wales can find the most up to date information by visiting the Welsh government website.

The following article may refer to government guidelines which were in place on the date it was published.

The consumer behaviours that could continue beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 has undoubtedly changed the way that we have lived our lives since it arrived in the UK in January 2020. The virus has affected almost every aspect of life in the UK, and people have had to adapt to these changes.

We can use Google Trends to see the kind of things that people have been searching for online along with historical search trends to understand how consumers habits may be changing as a result of lockdown and COVID-19 restrictions.

These trends are likely to continue as the impact of COVID-19 will last for a long time and as consumer habits become the new normal. We have picked out the following 6 trends to try and understand how consumers have been interacting with UK businesses throughout 2020 and understanding the lasting impact this could have.

1. Home improvements

One of the biggest impacts that COVID-19 has had is that people are now spending more time at home. Because of existing restrictions, people are now using their home as their office, gym, café and for any other purpose where lockdown has meant they can’t leave their property.

Many different businesses can benefit from offering products or services to make improvements to homes, whether this is businesses in the home improvement trade, artists, home security providers or gadget sellers.

Property owners should also consider how COVID-19 has affected tenants, and make home improvements to adapt to their needs. Likewise, DIY retailers and contractors such as builders or property developers are likely to continue to see an increase in demand as people look to make improvements to their own homes.

2. Shopping local

Research has shown that consumers think that local businesses are good for the economy, with 53% of those surveyed saying that they will shop at these businesses once restrictions have been lifted.

Local shop search trends

As a small local business, such as newsagents, convenience store or grocer the easing of lockdown restrictions could be a great time to maximise business, with more customers willing to spend more locally.

3. Gardening

Similar to home improvements, those with gardens have been able to spend more time learning gardening skills and making improvements. This was also reflected in online search trends, showing that Google searches for gardening were significantly higher than in 2019.

Gardening search trends

This shows a desire for green space, so as a property owner, you may wish to invest in properties with garden space.

Gardeners and garden centres may also find this information useful. When people start going back to work, they may have less time to care for their garden. This would be a great opportunity for you to step in and keep their garden in great shape.

4. Health and fitness

Again, with more people having time on their hands through being furloughed, they have had more time to do physical activity and eat more healthily. Google trends show that searches for organic foods and vitamins are higher than in 2019.

Vitamins search trends

Mental health has also been a hot topic in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a surge in mental health problems that stem from the anxiety of contracting the illness, the depression that follows having a business or job impacted, and how isolation affects mental health.

The importance of physical fitness is something that most people understand, but mental health fitness has only really come to the forefront of peoples’ minds in the last decade or so. As an employer, you should do your best to take care of your teams’ mental and physical health.

5. Online shopping

Online shopping has been on the rise for some time now, but with COVID-19 affecting the retail industry, more and more consumers are heading down the online shopping and e-commerce route.

Live chat service historical search trends

Virtual try on historical search trends

Next day delivery historical search trends

App historical search trends

It is something we have known for some time, but businesses must adapt to offer an online shopping experience to be able to thrive in the digital world.

6. Focus on ethical brands

Brands who have focussed on doing good in their community or helping those affected by the pandemic are being seen as more favourable to customers.

When a business does this, they are known as an ethical business. Other ethical practices can include reducing plastic use, recycling and raising money for charities.

Ethical brands historical search trends

Consumers enjoy engaging and ultimately spending money with ethical businesses because they feel as though the money they spend is being put into good causes, so take a look at our guide on how you make your business more ethical.

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The information and tools contained in this guide are of a general informational nature and should not be relied upon as being suitable for any specific set of circumstances. We have used reasonable endeavours to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the contents but the information and tools do not constitute professional advice and must not be relied upon as such. To the extent permitted by law, we do not accept responsibility for any loss which may arise from reliance on the information or tools in our Insight Hub.