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UK Media & Consumer Market Update — October 16, 2020

UK Media & Consumer Market Update — October 16, 2020
15 October 2020 Zac van Manen

Accurate as of: 14 October 2020

Current UK status:

Visit for all official information.

  • As of 4pm on 13 October 2020, a total of 25,697,164 people have been tested for coronavirus (COVID-19), of which 634,920 were confirmed positive.
  • 43,018 patients in the UK who tested positive for COVID-19 have died.
  • A new set of local COVID alert levels have been established and are medium / high / very high. These new alert levels set out information for local authorities, residents and workers about what to do and how to manage an outbreak in their area.
  • A full Q&A regarding the UK lockdown rules can be found

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.
  • A 14-day mandatory quarantine for all UK arrivals except for those announced as exempt. See here for the full list of exempt countries. Countries can be added or removed from this list at any time.
  • 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.
  • All travellers entering the UK or returning to the UK must complete a comprehensive passenger locator form or risk a fine.

Latest updates:

  • Transport secretary Grant Shapps has discussed plans to introduce a new “test and release regime” to reduce the self-isolation period. Speaking during the Abta Travel Convention today, Shapps insisted a huge amount of work had been taking place “behind the scenes” to speed up the return of overseas travel, as he insisted the new Global Travel Taskforce announced last week would help accelerate the plans (TTG)
  • There is a 50% chance of next summer’s peak holiday season being severely disrupted even if a vaccine is ready by early 2021, today’s virtual Abta Travel Convention was told (Travel Weekly)
  • Almost 90% of travel businesses made use of the government’s furlough job support scheme throughout the pandemic, new research by tax and consulting firm RSM reveals (Travel Weekly)
  • Holidaymakers continue to “flex to fit” to overseas destinations as they become available without the need to quarantine on return. Latest data from comparison site shows ongoing interest in last minute trips (Travel Weekly)
  • London hoteliers have warned of the devastating impact that any new shutdown restrictions would have, as concerns grow that the capital could soon be classed as ‘high’ risk (the city is currently at ‘medium’ risk) (Telegraph)
  • Wales has banned parts of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland from visiting the country, with the coronavirus pandemic enforcing an internal border on the UK, which will come into force at 5pm on Friday (Express)
  • The Irish Government has removed all remaining countries from its Green List (Irish Post)
  • Consumer spending continued to rise in September with a spike in back to school shopping and panic buying. Figures from Barclaycard (BARC.L) reveal 2% growth overall with the biggest increase, some 15.4%, on supermarket spending. This comes as more than a quarter of Brits admit to stockpiling items such as tinned food and toilet roll in anticipation of further lockdown restrictions (Yahoo! Finance)
  • Visit Britain continues to track consumer sentiment on travel, some key current findings are (Visit Britain):
    • The majority of the UK adult population (58%) don’t believe life will ‘return close to normal’ before June next year
    • Only 5% expect some sort of ‘normality’ by December this year
    • ‘Hotel’ was the most popular type of accommodation for trips in September, consistent with intentions. With the exception of ‘guesthouse/B&B’ all other accommodation types attracted broadly similar proportions of visitors as indicated by intent (note fewer camping / caravan trips)
    • Countryside or village and city or large town was the main destination type for a ‘holiday’ taken in September
    • 43% of people feel they are likely to take fewer UK short breaks and holidays compared to normal between now and the end of the year
    • ‘Restrictions on travel from government’ is the number one reason that UK adults do not feel confident about taking an overnight trip this autumn, with 51% stating this. Concerns about catching COVID-19 is the second most important reason at 48%

Social media:

  • Let’s start with the giant: Facebook has announced a ban on anti-vaccination ads. Kind of a no-brainer given that a vaccine seems like the only thing between the normals both new and old (or newer?). They’ve also formally (and finally!) started banning Holocaust denial. Better late than never I guess?
  • The new Messenger we touched on last week has also rolled out with new branding, Instagram Direct integration, a customisable emoji bar, Rooms, and collaborative video viewing. The logo also looks a little bit like your screen’s burnt out on the edge of the blue circle so we did have to do a double take a few days ago before realising it was a Facebook thing not an our-laptop thing.
  • Curious how people are communicating on Twitter during COVID-19? The little light blue app has put together an infographic on the way people’s tweeting behaviour has changed. Surprise, surprise — we’re feeling 21% more emotional.
  • If you’re struggling to twist blogs from your WordPress site into tweets, WordPress’s just added new functionality that will break up your posts into a thread complete with embedded images that roughly estimate where they should go based on where they’re added into your blog. Interesting feature as Twitter threads are picking up in prominence and they’re a strong authority builder but, as the linked article above notes, you do risk losing out on web traffic. Either way, an interesting development for sure.
  • Oh, TikTok, apparently incapable of avoiding the news. It’s just been banned in Pakistan, which you might recall as India’s neighbour. In a nice change of flavour, though, the Islamic Republic has banned the app for ‘immoral and indecent’ content rather than national security concerns.
  • In the unstoppable shift to e-commerce, YouTube’s testing product tags in select videos to enable direct shopping on the platform. Think infomercials but on-demand. It’s been a funny process watching the Internet just become TV again…
  • A new report has also highlighted that Snapchat and TikTok are outpacing Instagram for teen audience growth with Snapchat first, then TikTok, then Instagram. For all of TikTok’s incessant press coverage and enormous media budget, it’s maybe not cutting through as quickly or as massively as you’d expect.

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