Under 35s are less concerned about COVID-19 and expect their lives to return to normal sooner, says GlobalData


Younger consumers in the UK feel more optimistic than those over 35 and are likely to be more willing to embrace the lockdown loosening when it happens.
Retailers will be eager to bring shoppers back into their stores after weeks of being closed and those targeting younger consumers are likely to see footfall return more quickly than players aimed at the more cautious over 35s, says GlobalData, the data and analytics company.

Sofie Willmott, Lead Retail Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Despite the majority of UK consumers remaining concerned about COVID-19, under 35s are slightly more optimistic likely to be due to the lower death rates amongst the young. 42.0% of under 35s are extremely concerned about coronavirus in comparison to 53.7% of over 35s. Those over 35 will feel more cautious about returning to non-essential retail stores once they are able to re-open and retailers will need to clearly communicate the safety measures they have in place to ease their worries.”

Retailers whose customers are primarily over 35 should prepare for online sales to remain inflated and should gear up warehouses to be able to cope with the ongoing demand while trying to improve delivery times that have been slowed down by social distancing measures being introduced.

Willmott continues: “Younger consumers are ready for their lives to return to normal with 44.9% expecting this to happen by the end of June, if not sooner. Under 35s are likely to be those first back into non-essential shops as the risk of serious of consequences of COVID-19 is lower for them. Retailers such as JD Sports and Primark will see the benefit as young consumers are eager to leave the house after weeks of restrictions.

15.7% of over 35s do not expect things to return to normal until the end of year (versus 10.2% of under 35s) so will be prepared to stay home for a longer period and it will be harder for retailers such as Marks & Spencer and John Lewis & Partners to coax their customers back into branches. Following the initial instructions from the government to stay at home for 12 weeks, many older consumers are not convinced this is long enough with almost one fifth expecting to wait till the end of the year until their lives return to normal.”

Note: Data within both charts is taken from GlobalData’s monthly survey of 2,000 nationally representative UK consumers conducted in early April.

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