School is out, beaches are packed and despite there being no Wimbledon this year, pitchers of Pimms are back on pub menus. A first glance, it looks like a very British Summer is upon is, and whilst thousands are enjoying summer holidays and the great outdoors, it looks like not even the sunshine can stop the stay-at-home economy from booming.

Our latest wave of the QT (the7stars proprietary consumer sentiment tracker) has demonstrated that despite lockdown easing, brands cannot be too quick to assume Brits are breaking the habit that has become so engrained in us: staying at home. When asking the nation how they are planning to spend this Summer compared to last year – 64% still claim they are planning to spend more time at home, rising to 69% among those aged 55-64 and 70% for those in the South West. In similar vein, 1 in 2 of us are intending on spending less time enjoying UK day trips to indoor locations and for 2 in 5 of us, we are even planning to spend less time making the most of outdoor attractions.

This inclination to be at home is also reflected in our holiday plans. Although given the green light to enjoy Britain’s most attractive holiday destinations, only 10% plan to spend more time than last year on a staycation – although intention doubles amongst parents.

However, there are many glimmers of hope – the government’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme has resulted in a 19% increase in high street footfall across the UK. Granted, brands cannot be expected to be as generous as Rishi Sunak, but assuming consumers will bounce back to normal without a nudge is not always realistic. Even when financial incentives are not possible, demonstrating reassurance in other ways might be enough to show empathy – through the likes of creativity and messaging – as we slowly go back to old behaviours.

They say it takes longer to break a habit than start one, so whilst Brits adjust and recover, brands need to show patience and understanding in the meantime.

Sources: The QT, August 2020.
The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/aug/10/eat-out-to-help-out-scheme-increases-uk-high-street-footfall-covid-19

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