Data scientists at Ekimetrics have analysed changing consumer behaviour following easing lockdown restrictions to help support and advise UK businesses as they look to rebound from the pandemic. The global leader and pioneer in data science has identified a significant opportunity to re-evaluate the media mix as footfall rises within inner cities and consumers begin to shop, travel, spend more time outside of their homes, and plan holidays.
On average, footfall has increased in cities by 18% since 12 April 2021. The west of England showed the biggest rises, with Bristol up by 42% and Liverpool by 33%, followed by Nottingham (32%), London (26%), Newcastle (24%) and Manchester (22%). This coincides with an average 10% increase in driving volume in inner cities across the UK, with Bristol again topping the charts at 22%. Use of public transport in London increased by over a quarter (27%) between 12 April and the start of May (Google Mobility data), adding to the sizeable upward trend for mobility and consumer activity outside of the home.
In the first week after restrictions lifted (12 April – 19 April), restaurant dining was already at 61% of the same week in 2019, rising to 65% in the week of 26th April, despite reduced capacity due to outdoor only restrictions and partial re-opening of establishments. Contrasted against the first week of restaurant opening after the first lockdown in 2020, with indoor dining available, dining was at just 42% of the same week in 2019 (27% in London), consumer mobility and out of home consumption behaviour is giving rise to a demonstrable shift in sales and marketing opportunities. As well as dining out, UK consumers are travelling to see friends, shop and take part in recreational activities. The grocery and pharmacy sector saw the highest increase in consumer mobility in the two weeks after lockdown (121%), followed by parks (62%) and retail and recreation (41%).
With a high (82%) correlation between the rise in public transport use and vaccination rate (ourworldindata.org) and the upward trend in workplace travel (47% correlated with vaccination rate), as well as the highest level of consumer confidence since before the pandemic (GfK), the increases in TV viewing and over the top subscriptions during lockdown, particularly in areas such as gaming, books and radio, are beginning to make way for channels such as cinema and transport as people start to travel, meet friends and return to work. There has already been a 37% growth in out of home (OOH) media spend in the UK in 2021, compared to a drop of 44% in 2020 according to Statista, signalling the shift in the way media is consumed. The channels that saw a decline during the pandemic have the potential to be early gold mines as consumers are keen to engage with experiences they have forgone.
As Ekimetrics demonstrates, analysis of consumer behaviour data is crucial for brands to predict trends and activity spikes, in order to effectively utilise their marketing budget and to make smart investment decisions across the media mix as part of their recovery post-pandemic. Those brands monitoring the trends will be able to capitalise early on opportunities both nationally and regionally to book into channels that have been ignored for the past year and be confident of a return on investment.
Matt Andrew, UK MD & Partner, Ekimetrics said: “Although 2021 will be a challenging year for many, there is a huge opportunity for businesses to harness data when planning to ensure they’re making smarter marketing decisions. Multi-scenario planning is an effective approach that marketers can use in advance of observable trends to plan, using advanced data analytics to predict numerous potential outcomes and navigate a path to the best blend of ROI and contribution. This delivers greater business agility, helping marketers to identify relevant trends and respond efficiently and effectively to them. With restrictions easing further from 17th May, those businesses that understand the dynamics of behaviour changes will be best placed to capitalise on which media and messaging will hit home at the best cost. As we continue to ease out of lockdown restrictions, our purpose is to deliver optimal marketing and business strategies that lead to both short- and long-term gains.”
Ekimetrics’ data science consultancy expertise provides businesses with advanced data and analytics and the insight necessary to inform effective planning for recovery and marketing efficiency in the year ahead.
Using data-driven decision-making, businesses can be well-equipped to take a more dynamic and flexible approach to marketing, preparing for multiple scenarios and optimising their marketing spend.
Ekimetrics drives business and marketing effectiveness for global brands across multiple sectors. The data-science expert supports businesses to utilise highly advanced data and analytics and has worked with brands including Facebook, Accor, PSA and Shell.