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Brief Published: 6 Nov 2020

McKinsey Report Reveals UK’s Pessimistic Pandemic Mood


Pessimism among UK consumers has reached its highest point since the pandemic began, according to a new survey by global consulting firm McKinsey & Company. This gloomy national mood is shaking brand loyalty, with 63% changing their spending behaviours this autumn. Brands should look to supercharge positivity and support daily rituals to weather the downturn. 

  • Pessimism Pervades National Consciousness: The survey, published in October, shows that an overwhelming 84% of UK consumers are either unsure or pessimistic about the likelihood of a speedy economic rebound within the next two to three months. And the number feeling entirely pessimistic is growing – surging from 24% in March, to 37% in September. 
    This mood is infiltrating spending habits, with 63% of Brits claiming to have changed stores, brands or the way they shop since the pandemic began. Over a third (36%) are also becoming more mindful of where they are spending their money, and 15% are doing more research before purchasing. For more on Covid-era money worries, see Financial Wellness.
  • Routines Become Rudderless: According to McKinsey’s findings, the majority of Brits (82%) believe it will be at least another four months before their routines can return to normal, with about a third (31%) expecting it will take more than a year. During this uncertain period, brands should help remedy the upheaval by supporting daily rituals that spark joy or foster calm. See Radical Positivity for more. 
  • The Homebody Economy: With 73% of UK consumers not yet resuming ‘normal’ out-of-home activities, coupled with a second national lockdown starting on November 5, British spending on ‘insperiences’ (in-home experiences – see The Brief) is likely to remain robust. Read The Mild Life (publishing on November 9) for more.