Toby Clark
Toby Clark is Director of EMEA Research, and is responsible for many Mintel report series, tracking consumer sentiment and top-level spending intentions in the UK.

Three things you need to know about Mintel Reports UK:

  • All reports published since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK have factored in severe disruption throughout 2021, with the virus still likely to have an impact even into 2022.
  • Our core assumption since the start of the outbreak has been that there’d be a vaccine rollout in early- to mid-2021, and this has been factored into our market analysis and forecast expectations.
  • All reports published in 2021 additionally factor in the new national lockdown and the outcome of Brexit negotiations.

From the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic in countries around the world to the new UK-wide lockdown (announced 4 January), Mintel has been tracking changes in consumer sentiment, behaviour, and spend and what they mean for industries over the next five years. The result is in-depth insight into the impact of the pandemic as it has developed, highlighting both challenges and opportunities for brands.

The assumption that the UK would be facing significant disruption as a result of COVID-19 well into 2021, potentially into 2022, has been reflected in our analysis and forecasts from the start. The challenges posed by the new lockdown, however, need to be balanced against the rollout of the vaccination programme. Mintel analysis and market forecasts were based on the assumption that a vaccine would be made available in early to mid-2021. Although the vaccine was approved earlier than many predicted, the inevitable challenges of creating a population-wide vaccination programme from scratch means that this assumption holds true.

The Brexit negotiations have added further uncertainty to the situation in the UK, but our long-standing consumer sentiment data series has given us an edge when it comes to assessing the impact on consumer behaviour.

The speed with which events have changed means that we have had to react equally quickly. All of our forthcoming UK reports and market forecasts have been reassessed in the light of the new lockdown and the (relatively) positive outcome to the Brexit negotiations.

Surviving the months ahead

Even though most of the country was effectively already under near-lockdown conditions, Monday’s announcement will still have an impact on sentiment. After a brief respite for Christmas, it’s easy to feel that we’re back to square one in our fight against the virus.

But both individuals and businesses have learned survival skills over the last nine months that will help them get through this new wave of infections.

And the same is true for Mintel.

At the start of the pandemic, we had the huge advantage of being able to draw on the experiences of our colleagues in China and what they learned about how consumers and businesses reacted there. We were also able to look back through our data and insights from the last recession and learn from how markets reacted to the economic upheaval and the strategies that worked for brands last time round.

Add to that the wealth of knowledge we have related to how consumers responded to the first wave of infections and subsequent lockdown; nine months’ worth of Global COVID-19 Tracker data; and market size and consumer data from hundreds of individual category reports.

We continue to draw on all these resources to inform our research today; to refine our upcoming forecasts, market analysis, and reassessment of all upcoming reports in the light of the new restrictions.

Furthermore, we have a new wave of COVID-19 Tracker data in the field that will allow us to see exactly how the new lockdown has affected consumer sentiment and our ‘COVID-19: A Year On’ category-level report series is underway, featuring category-level forecasts and analysis of how markets have changed since the pandemic first hit.

Finally—and most importantly—we have hundreds of analysts across the globe who are dedicated to tracking the latest developments in their markets and learning from how the crisis is playing out in adjacent markets in order to provide our clients with insights and recommendations to help them make better business decisions.

Mintel clients can log in now for the latest insights. Check out the Mintel Store to purchase a report today.

For more in-depth analysis of the implications of the new lockdown on UK consumer sentiment and behaviour, Toby shares his thoughts here.