2020 was a challenging year for most people, and we’re still seeing the remnants of it throughout the start of 2021. As a result, we offered readers the opportunity to ask what they felt was important for the nation to know in this article as we progress towards a ‘new normal’ way of living.
Three final questions were shortlisted from the entries, and covered holiday plans, personal finances and community-mindedness. They were included in YouGov’s nationally-representative survey as part of a drive to see what the country thought about the questions. The findings paint a picture of a largely prudent national character, although they also highlight a degree of ignorance and disregard for science (whether wilful or not) among a subsection of society.
The winning question: ‘Do you think the COVID pandemic will change the types of holidays you choose going forward?’
This question* was asked by Naomi Pedlow, a PR & Comms Manager, at Tourism and Events Queensland, and highlighted the effects suffered by the aviation and travel industry as a whole during the pandemic. While the rollout of vaccines is gathering momentum and a return to some semblance of normality draws nearer, the question asked respondents to reflect on their holiday plans once travel restrictions have been lifted.
Nearly a fifth (39%) of adults said they would not go on any holiday – either in the UK or abroad – until they have had the vaccine, while 27% said they would only go on UK-based holidays even if they had been inoculated. This was a view shared proportionately by both men and women and most age groups.
However, older, 55-plus, consumers were more wary. Nearly 10 percentage points more (48% total) of that group said they would not go on holiday without being vaccinated while 31% would not travel beyond the UK even after being inoculated. Meanwhile, 52% of retirees said they would not go on holiday without being vaccinated, compared with the employed (34%) and unemployed (39%).
But a surprisingly significant proportion of the population demonstrated a complacency and disregard for scientific advice around stopping the spread of COVID. Accordingly, 14% of GB adults said they would holiday in both the UK and abroad even if they have not had the vaccine (split 13% for males and 16% for females). This attitude was most common among 25-34-year-olds, 22% of whom would travel unvaccinated, compared to the far more tentative 55-and-overs, of whom just 7% would flout rules.
Those with more wealth would be marginally more prone to holidaying unvaccinated, according to the data: 16% of ABC1s versus 12% of C2DEs. Regionally, the Scots appear to be the most sensible – just 9% would holiday unvaccinated, compared with 15% of the English and 18% of the Welsh.
Scotland’s more considered viewpoint was reflected in the proportion of those who would be unwilling to go on any holiday until they’ve been inoculated. Around 10 percentage points more Scots (49%) than the English and Welsh (both 38%) would wait to be treated before venturing forth on their travels.
There were similar levels of people still unsure about their holiday plans – 15% of adults do not know what their plans are.
Social media users are apparently more likely to holiday without being inoculated, above the UK average of 14% by as many as 10 percentage points. But interestingly, given how much has been reported about Facebook as the predominant spreader of misinformation around the anti-vax movement – users of Facebook and Twitter were the least likely to holiday in the UK or abroad without being vaccinated.
Just 16% of those who had used Facebook in the past month would travel untreated, compared with 17% of Twitter users. Instagram, Snapchat and LinkedIn users were the most likely to travel against advice (22%, 23% and 24% respectively).
1st runner-up question: ‘Has the impact of the pandemic across 2020 made you more prudent (ie savings, insurance etc.) or are you living more in the moment?’
This question was asked by Victoria Miller, the VP of Global Comms, at Brandwatch. And it seemed when it comes to money, half (51%) of the population has taken a more sensible approach to their personal finances by saving more and spending less during the pandemic — a degree of responsibility most pronounced among women (54%) than men (48%). But just 19% of the GB population agreed it has made them a ‘lot’ more sensible, as opposed to a ‘little’ (32%).
For 44% of Brits, though, the impact of the pandemic has made no difference to the way they treat their personal finances (split 47% for men and 41% for women). Unsurprisingly, that sentiment is most prevalent across older age groups. While 26% of 18-24-year-olds and 29% of 25-34-year-olds feel unaffected in their attitude towards money, the percentage rockets for 45-54-year-olds (46%) and those 55 or older (58%).
Perhaps more surprisingly, there is little attitudinal difference between ABC1s and C2DEs, 43% and 45% of whom respectively feel their attitude has been unaffected.
Barely anyone (1-2% across all categories) felt the pandemic has made them a lot less sensible with their finances.
2nd runner-up question: ‘Will being an active participant in your local community be more important for you in 2021 as a result of the pandemic?’
This runner-up question was posed by Vicky Bristow, a freelance PR consultant, and the answers revealed a generally encouraging degree of selflessness among the GB population. Two-fifths (41%) of adults agree that being active in their local community is more important to them this year as a result of the pandemic, than in previous years. The term ‘active participant’ was stipulated by YouGov as meaning “participating in local/community events and/or initiative when possible, either online or face to face, shopping locally, etc.”
While the majority of these tended merely to ‘agree’, 7% ‘strongly’ agreed with the statement. Conversely, 42% disagreed (including 12% who did so strongly), and a surprisingly high proportion (18%) ‘didn’t know’.
More women than men feel they are community-minded, with 45% of females agreeing with the statement, versus 36% of males.
Sentiment among various age groups varied little – all around the 40% mark, with the highest level of agreement occurring among 25-34-year-olds, at 45%. Older consumers felt marginally less inclined to support their local community, presumably a factor driven by their being more vulnerable to COVID-19, with 39% of those 55 or more agreeing; while the highest rate (46%) of disagreement came from 45-54-year-olds, followed closely by 44% of those aged 35-44.
Across social strata there was minimal difference – 42% of ABC1s and 38% of C2DEs believe being an active participant in community is more important this year.
It’s unanimous in thought that COVID-19 has changed the landscape and thinking of GB residents, and their decisions around important areas of their lives, including holidays, finances and community-spirit. Less than half (39%) of the GB population will not go on holiday (in either the UK or overseas) until they have been vaccinated against the coronavirus, while a smaller but significant proportion (14%) of GB adults would fly in the face of scientific advice and travel unvaccinated.
Most (51%) GB adults have taken a more frugal attitude to their finances during these times of uncertainty, and others question the morality around being active in their community during these limited times, especially with lockdown restrictions. Surely attitudes will change once the virus is placed under control and isn’t a risk to GB residents.
*The entrant with the winning question also received a £150 Amazon voucher.
The research was conducted by YouGov using a sample size of 2021 representative of all GB adults, with online fieldwork undertaken between 28 and 29 January 2021. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
YouGov is a global provider of analysis and data generated by consumer panels in 44 markets. To discover more on its RealTime offering, please view here.