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UK Media & Consumer Market Update — July 15, 2020

UK Media & Consumer Market Update — July 15, 2020
15 July 2020 Zac van Manen

Accurate as of: 15 July 2020

Current UK status:

Visit for all official information.

  • As of 9am on 14 July 2020, a total of 9,235,686 people have been tested for coronavirus (COVID-19), of which 291,373 were confirmed positive.
  • 44,968 patients in the UK who tested positive for COVID-19 have died.
  • The UK is still considered the worst affected country in Europe, exceeding the death toll of Italy and Spain. The US remains the worst affected country in the world (over 3.5 million cases), followed by Brazil (1.9 million cases), India (941,000) and Russia (746,000 cases).
  • The UK lockdown continues to ease, with restaurants and pubs now open, alongside shops. Domestic travel and campsite / hotel stays are now permitted, and the UK Government has provided a list of countries that do not require the 14-day quarantine upon return. FCO advice on travel continues to be updated.

UK travel restrictions:

Visit for all official information.

  • As countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including travel and border restrictions, the FCO advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Any country or area may restrict travel without notice. However, this advise is beginning to change for certain countries.
  • A 14-day mandatory quarantine for all UK arrivals except for those announced as exempt. See here for the full list of exempt countries. These exemptions apply from 10 July.
  • FCO travel advice includes information on any health measures in place for visitors to a country or territory. These can include a requirement to self-isolate, quarantine or undergo testing for coronavirus, or even restrictions on entry.

Latest updates:

  • Heathrow Airport has called on the Government to restore long-haul routes as it has stepped up COVID-19 safety measures (Travel Weekly).
  • Following the lifting of travel restrictions and quarantine for 59 countries, UK outbound travel has resumed more as “a trickle” than a flood despite industry relief at the restart (Travel Weekly).
  • As of 15 July, Greece, Malta and Norway have reopened to UK holidaymakers (Telegraph).
  • The Airport Operators Association has repeated a warning that up to 20,000 jobs are at risk without urgent government intervention. The airports trade body last month called for “robust action” from ministers following a record drop-off in business as COVID-19 brought international aviation to a near standstill (Travel Weekly).
  • Ryanair is to cut up to 1,000 flights between the UK and Ireland in August and September, blaming Ireland’s “defective quarantine restrictions” (Travel Weekly).
  • British holidaymakers travelling to Ireland will continue to be subject to quarantine as the Dublin government seeks to avoid a second spike of the coronavirus. A further update is due on 20 July (Sky News).
  • Authorities in Magaluf have threatened to close the party island’s main strip after video emerged this week showing scores of drunken British tourists engaging in disorderly behaviour and flouting social distancing guidelines (Independent).
  • Consumer worries continue regarding flight cancellations, insurance policies and restrictions. Telegraph reporter Nick Trend weighs in on the most frequently asked questions (Telegraph).
  • TTG Agent Data from last week found 87% of agent respondents had acquired new booking enquiries in the past seven days, a spike of almost eight percentage points on the previous week. Only 17% said booking enquiries were down, while 37% said levels of enquiries had stayed the same (TTG).
  • Two thirds (64%) of Britons said they would not feel safe travelling internationally on a plane, up 40% on last month, according to a YouGov poll (Telegraph).
  • Deliberately keeping the middle seat empty on flights could almost halve the risk of catching coronavirus, a new paper has claimed. The chances of becoming infected with COVID-19 during a flight drop from about 1 in 4,300 as of early July 2020 to about 1 in 7,700, according to Arnold Barnett, George Eastman professor of management science and statistics at MIT Sloan School of Management (Independent).
  • Virgin Atlantic says it will lay off a further 400 staff after announcing a £1.2bn deal to save the airline with the help of a hedge fund that specialises in distressed companies and its credit card debtors (Times).
  • Media are seeking UK and European destination/product news and openings, health & safety measure updates, data/trend stories and travel story ideas. Staycation content remains popular, as does content about the countries that are exempt from the 14-day quarantine period. Spain, Greece and Malta have been covered the most by UK press thus far.
  • Media are seeking expert comment from travel companies regarding their new safety measures, trend predictions, sales and booking data, etc. Strong booking data is getting good cut-through at the moment.
  • Travel teams are still very small, with most publications putting a large percentage of their staff on furlough, and some beginning to make redundancies. For example, The Telegraph have made many in the branded content team redundant, while The Guardian have confirmed they will be letting go 12% of their workforce (including editorial staff).

Social media:

  • Facebook’s uncharacteristically active at the moment, with a whole bunch of stuff going on.
  • Get started with Facebook/Instagram Shops. As shops reopen the retail space is gaining back some of the ground it lost to e-commerce but with lockdowns still prevalent and the threat of a second wave keeping many of us cautious, there’s still plenty of room to grow your retailer online. Note that Facebook takes a cut of your sales through Shops though it’s pretty comparable to PayPal processing fees. If you want help running an e-commerce account, get in touch.
  • The Social Network’s also published a new report on the COVID lockdown effects on SMBs. Businesses across the world self-reported on the state of their enterprise and some of the feedback is about as dour as you’d expect. In some parts of the world, 50% of businesses were forced to close… But business owners remain optimistic about their reopening. Interestingly, businesses have reported about 25% of sales are purely digital.
  • In an ongoing effort to grow Watch at all costs, Facebook is launching a new Music Videos hub for musicians. As you’d expect, YouTube’s been all over the music video game for years but Facebook has the advantage of events, ticketing with Eventbrite integration, and organic distribution platform building already in place for bands and artists so expect this to all come together nicely as acts get back to touring.
  • New image presentation options on Facebook will mean nothing at all to anyone that doesn’t run an account but it’s a bit refreshing after years of pretty standard layout options.
  • With the US set to ban TikTok over data security concerns, Byte, the spiritual successor to Vine, has exploded to the top of the US App Store charts. TikTok’s unstoppable popularity has forced competitors to play copycat but India’s crackdown has pushed users there to find alternatives and conversation around the same happening elsewhere is driving people to jump on similar-but-different apps. We haven’t yet reached a full clone at the top of the charts but stay tuned.
  • Also as a result of TikTok’s impending ban, Snapchat’s testing an update to the way their navigation system works in Discover. Expect more of this as TikTok fights its Chinese roots.

Confused about how best to communicate with your customers during this period? Get in touch.