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McKinsey Survey: British consumer sentiment during the coronavirus crisis

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UK consumers are worried about the economy during the COVID-19 crisis, but less so than in prior weeks.

In the UK, pessimism about economic recovery has declined since the last pulse, but remains relatively high compared to the onset of COVID-19. Most consumers expect the financial and personal impact of COVID to continue to last beyond two months. Many believe that the crisis has had an impact on their ability to work and have delayed purchases as a result. This is evident in reduced shopping intent across categories, except groceries. UK consumers have adopted online shopping across grocery and entertainment categories, and many intend to continue after the crisis as well.

These exhibits are based on survey data collected in the UK from June 18–21, 2020. Check back for regular updates on UK consumer sentiments, behaviors, income, spending, and expectations.

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McKinsey Survey: British consumer sentiment during the coronavirus crisis

  1. 1. McKinsey & Company 1 Pessimism has declined since the last pulse, but remains relatively high compared to the onset of COVID-19 Confidence in own country’s economic recovery after COVID-191 % of respondents 1 Q: How is your overall confidence level in economic conditions after the COVID-19 situation? Rated from 1 “very optimistic” to 6 “very pessimistic”; figures may not sum to 100% because of rounding. 24% 26% 27% 25% 24% 35% 30% 54% 55% 58% 59% 58% 51% 55% 23% 19% 15% 17% 18% 15% 15% Mixed: The economy will be impacted for 6–12 months or longer and will stagnate or show slow growth thereafter Pessimistic: COVID-19 will have lasting impact on the economy and show regression/fall into lengthy recession Optimistic: The economy will rebound within 2–3 months and grow just as strong as or stronger than before COVID-19 The United Kingdom Jun 18–21May 21–24Apr 30–May 3Apr 16–19Apr 2–5Mar 28–29Mar 21–22 Source: McKinsey & Company COVID-19 United Kingdom Consumer Pulse Survey 6/18–6/21/2020, n = 1,001; 5/21–5/24/2020, n = 1,002; 4/30–5/3/2020, n = 1,003; 4/16–4/19/2020, n = 998; 4/2–4/5/2020, n = 1,005, sampled and weighted to match the UK’s general population 18+ years
  2. 2. McKinsey & Company 2 Around one-third of consumers feels an impact on their ability to work, and have delayed some purchases Overall sentiment in the general population in the UK1 % of respondents 1 Q: Please indicate how strongly you agree or disagree with each of the following statements. Please select only one response for each statement; figures may not sum to 100% because of rounding. 2 Measures difference in “strongly agree/agree” between current and last pulse survey. 53% 23% 34% 39% 34% 36% 39% 19% 28% 57% 43% 36% 38% 34% 29% 43% 19% 20% 23% 25% 28% 30% 32% 37% I or someone in my family or a close friend have had negative health effects from COVID-19 Strongly agree/ agree difference since last survey2 +2 -1 +1 -1 -3 +2 -2 -1 My ability to work has been reduced by coronavirus or COVID-19 My income has been negatively impacted by coronavirus or COVID-19 My job feels less secure because of the coronavirus My ability to make financial ends meet has been negatively impacted by coronavirus or COVID-19 Given my current economic situation, I am delaying some purchases that I had planned to make I am living paycheck-to-paycheck I would spend more money now if I was confident the economy was headed in the right direction Source: McKinsey & Company COVID-19 the United Kingdom Consumer Survey 6/18–6/21/2020, n = 1,001; 5/21–5/24/2020, n = 1,002; sampled and weighted to match the UK’s general population 18+ years Strongly disagree / disagree Somewhat disagree / agree Strongly agree / agree
  3. 3. McKinsey & Company 3 Reduce slightly / reduce a lot About the same Increase slightly / increase a lot 54% Past 2 weeks 53% 4% 43% Next 2 weeks 3% 42% Past 2 weeks 7% 71% 23% 1 Q: How has the COVID-19 situation affected your (family’s) overall available income, spending, and savings in the past two weeks? Figures may not sum to 100% because of rounding. 2 Q: How do you think your overall available income, spending, and savings may change in the next two weeks? Figures may not sum to 100% because of rounding. More consumers reported a decline in spending compared to the last pulse survey 25% 30% 48% 34% 45% Past 2 weeks 18% Past 2 weeks 10% 63% 26% Next 2 weeks May 21–24 Jun 18–21 Household income1,2 % of respondents Household spending1,2 % of respondents Household savings1,2 % of respondents 20% 22% Past 2 weeks 44% 36% 42% Past 2 weeks 36% 13% 62% 25% Next 2 weeks May 21–24 Jun 18–21 May 21–24 Jun 18–21 Source: McKinsey & Company COVID-19 United Kingdom Consumer Pulse Survey 6/18–6/21/2020, n = 1,001; 5/21–5/24/2020, n = 1,002, sampled and weighted to match the UK’s general population 18+ years
  4. 4. McKinsey & Company 4 UK consumers continue to believe that the personal and financial impact from COVID-19 will continue to last well beyond two months 27% 6% 19% 29% 19% 2–3 months 0–1 month 4–6 months 7–12 months More than one year 28% 13% 22% 15% 18% 4–6 months 4%0–1 month No impact More than one year 2–3 months 7–12 months Adjustments to routines1 % of respondents Impact on personal/household finances2 % of respondents ~94% believe it will take another 2+ months before routines can return to normal, similar to the last survey ~68% believe their finances will be impacted for 2+ months by the COVID-19 situation, similar to the last pulse survey 1 Q: How long do you believe you need to adjust your routines, given the current COVID-19 situation, before things return back to normal in UK (e.g., government lifts restrictions on events/travel)? Figures may not sum to 100% because of rounding. 2 Q: How long do you believe your personal/household finances will be impacted by the COVID-19 situation? Figures may not sum to 100% because of rounding. Source: McKinsey & Company COVID-19 the United Kingdom Consumer Pulse Survey 6/18–6/21/2020, n = 1,001, sampled and weighted to match the UK’s general population 18+ years
  5. 5. McKinsey & Company 5 UK consumers anticipate a decrease in spending across all categories except groceries 8 18 22 35 22 26 23 46 67 48 47 56 53 20 11 13 30 47 14 10 8 14 14 9 13 7 6 10 7 7 11 7 6 6 8 Vitamins & supplements Snacks Alcohol Groceries Tobacco products Food takeout & delivery 4Over-the-counter medicine Quick-service restaurant Restaurant Footwear Apparel Jewelry Accessories Non-food child products Household supplies Personal-care products Furnishing & appliances Skin care & makeup Expected spending per category over the next two weeks compared to usual1 % of respondents Decrease Stay the same Increase 12 24 47 62 32 30 44 52 40 51 63 41 44 65 63 67 65 8 8 8 6 13 9 7 9 11 13 9 13 17 8 8 7 Fitness & wellness Books/magazines/newspaper Hotel/resort stays Out of home entertainment Entertainment at home Consumer electronics Children toys Petcare services International flights Personal care services Gasoline Vehicle purchases Short-term home rentals Travel by car Cruises Adventures & tours 5 Domestic flights 1 Q: Over the next two weeks, do you expect that you will spend more, about the same, or less money on these categories than usual? Figures may not sum to 100% because of rounding. 2 Net intent is calculated by subtracting the % of respondents stating they expect to decrease spending from the % of respondents stating they expect to increase spending. Net intent2 -4 -16 -39 -56 -21 -37 -43 -29 -38 -54 -28 -27 -57 -55 -62 -58 Net intent2 +6 -9 -4 -39 -8 -14 -21 -8 -33 -60 -42 -37 -49 -46 -7 -24 -22 -14 -19 Source: McKinsey & Company COVID-19 United Kingdom Consumer Pulse Survey 6/18–6/21/2020, n = 1,001, sampled and weighted to match the UK’s general population 18+ years
  6. 6. McKinsey & Company 6 Consumers plan to shop more online for groceries, at-home entertainment, and children’s toys 1 Q: Over the next two weeks, where do you expect you’ll buy these categories? Tell us if you will shop in the following places more, about the same, or less in the next two weeks; please note, if you don’t buy in one of these places today and won’t in next two weeks, please select “N/A.” 2 Net intent is calculated by subtracting the % of respondents stating they expect to decrease shopping frequency from the % of respondents stating they expect to increase shopping frequency. Expected change in shopping channel per category over the next two weeks1 Axes show net intent,2 bubble size relative to share of respondents that have purchased category in last six months -6 -39 -15 -21 -3-24 -12 -42 -21 -18 -6-9 -27 -24 0 93 6 12 15 -3 18 -36 -33 -30 -18 -15 -12 -9 0 Alcohol Over-the-counter medicine Snacks Fitness & wellness Accessories Household supplies (e.g., cleaning, laundry) Personal-care products (e.g., soap, shampoo) Skincare & makeup Food takeout & delivery Groceries Non-food child products (e.g., diapers) Apparel Jewelry Furnishing & appliances Consumer electronics Entertainment at home (e.g., Netflix)Books magazines newspapers Tobacco Vitamins & supplements Children’s toys Footwear Household essentials Discretionary Entertainment at home In-store Online Source: McKinsey & Company COVID-19 the United Kingdom Consumer Pulse Survey 6/18–6/21/2020, n = 1,001, sampled and weighted to match the UK’s general population 18+ years
  7. 7. McKinsey & Company 7 Have you used or done any of the following since COVID-19 started1 % of respondents Consumers are trying new shopping behaviors, including experimenting with different stores and brands 37% 37% 19% 19% 16% New shopping method2 Different brand New digital shopping method Different reatiler/store/website Private label/store brand Source: McKinsey & Company COVID-19 the United Kingdom Consumer Pulse Survey 6/18–6/21/2020, n = 1,001, sampled and weighted to match the UK’s general population 18+ years 71% Consumers have tried a new shopping behavior 1 Q: Since the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation started (i.e., in the past ~3 months), which of the following have you done? 29% consumers selected “none of these.” 2 “New shopping method” includes curbside pickup and delivery apps.
  8. 8. McKinsey & Company 8 UK consumers have picked up new digital and low-touch activities, including grocery delivery and videoconferencing 37% 15% 11% 7% 22% 8% 9% 5% 4% 11% 9% 6% 5% 5% Video chat: personal Remote learning: my children Telemedicine: mental2 4% 1% 2% 3% Videoconferencing: professional Online streaming 4% Remote learning: myself Spending time outdoors Online fitness 5% 2%Wellness app 2% 2% Digital exercise machine2 Telemedicine: physical 1% 1% 1% 2%Playing online games 4%Watching e-sports TikTok 9% 17% 10% 8% 9% 5% 2% 3%Store curbside pick-up Meal-kit delivery 1% 4% 1% 3% 3% Buy online for in-store pickup Restaurant delivery Grocery delivery 5% 2% Restaurant curbside pick-up Quick-serve restaurant drive-thru In-store self-checkout 2% Just started usingUsing less / the sameNot using Using more Consumers have intensified their behaviors around many of these activities, including online streaming, video chat, and time spent outdoors Have you used or done any of the following since COVID-19 started1 % of respondents 1 Q: Have you used or done any of the following since the COVID-19 situation started? If yes, Q: Which best describes when you have done or used each of these items? Possible answers: “just started using since COVID-19 started”; “using more since COVID-19 started”; “using about the same since COVID-19 started”; “using less since COVID-19 started.” 2 Small sample (n < 30). Source: McKinsey & Company COVID-19 the United Kingdom Consumer Pulse Survey 6/18–6/21/2020, n = 1,001, sampled and weighted to match the UK’s general population 18+ years
  9. 9. McKinsey & Company 9 Consumer changes to digital and low-touch activities fall into three primary buckets 1 Q: Compared to now, will you do or use the following more, less or not at all, once the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation has subsided? Possible answers: “will stop this”; “will reduce this”; “will keep doing what I am doing now”, “will increase this.” 2 User growth is calculated as % of respondents who replied that they are new users over % of respondents who replied that they were either: increased usage users, same usage users, or reduced usage users. UsergrowthsinceCOVID-192 High(>40%)Low(<40%) Intent to use after COVID-191 Percent of new or increased users who intend to keep doing activity after COVID-19 Low (<45%) Medium-high (>45%) Works for now Activities necessitated by COVID-19 that are poor substitutes for in-person counterparts and consequently have lower intent to continue Accelerated shifts Satisfactory digital replacements for in-person activities and connectivity, with growing adoption Potentially here to stay New and familiar forms of entertainment and interaction with medium-high intent to continue  User growth is defined as the percent of respondents who replied that they are new users over the percent of respondents who replied that they were using this service pre-COVID-19  Intent to continue is defined as the percent of respondents who replied that, after COVID-19, they will keep their usage at the same level or will increase usage Source: McKinsey & Company COVID-19 the United Kingdom Consumer Pulse Survey 6/18–6/21/2020, n = 1,001, sampled and weighted to match the UK’s general population 18+ years
  10. 10. McKinsey & Company 10 UsergrowthsinceCOVID-192 Intent to use after COVID-191 Percent of new or increased users who intend to keep doing activity after COVID-19 Expected post-COVID-19 usage intent is higher for effective longer term solutions and lower for workarounds mandated by the crisis 1 Q: Compared to now, will you do or use the following more, less, or not at all, once the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation has subsided? Possible answers: “will stop this”; ”will reduce this”; “will keep doing what I am doing now”; “will increase this.” 2 User growth is calculated as % of respondents who replied that they are new users over % of respondents who replied that they were using the product/service pre-COVID-19 (using more, using the same or using less). High(>40%)Low(<40%) Low (<45%) Medium-high (>45%) Works for now Accelerated shifts Potentially here to stay User growth Intent to continue Meal-kit delivery Video chat: personal Restaurant curbside pickup 103% 53%Store curbside pickup TikTok 33% 42% User growth Intent to continue 63% 35% 91% 33% Videoconferencing: professional 74% 50% Telemedicine: physical 69% 64%Remote learning: my children 73% 42% 63% 46% Spending time outdoors In-store self-checkout Online streaming Buy online for in-store pickup Wellness app Grocery delivery 9% 17% 9% 34% 33% 35% User growth 0% 85% 58% 59% 65% 51% Intent to continue Remote learning: myself 62% 53% Changed primary grocery store 55% 63% Online fitness 50% 59% Watching e-sports 22% 39% Restaurant delivery 18% 43% Playing online games 13% 39% Quick-serve restaurant drive-thru 10% 42% Professional video conferencing 74% 50% User growth Intent to continue Source: McKinsey & Company COVID-19 the United Kingdom Consumer Pulse Survey 6/18–6/21/2020, n = 1,001, sampled and weighted to match the UK’s general population 18+ years
  11. 11. McKinsey & Company 11 Disclaimer McKinsey does not provide legal, medical, or other regulated advice or guarantee results. These materials reflect general insight and best practice based on information currently available and do not contain all of the information needed to determine a future course of action. Such information has not been generated or independently verified by McKinsey and is inherently uncertain and subject to change. McKinsey has no obligation to update these materials and makes no representation or warranty and expressly disclaims any liability with respect thereto.

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