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The Lowdown 2021 #February

Updated: Mar 24, 2021

An optimistic economic outlook, the accelerating generational divide in media consumption, Amazon primed for further success, implications for Facebook ads on Apple and Weetabix takes the biscuit...read on!


On the up

15 million people have now received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine and anticipation is rising about the easing of restrictions, but to what extent will consumer expenditure return?

Encouragingly, the Bank of England's chief economist is very positive. Writing in the Mail, Andy Haldane declares:

"...a decisive corner is about to be turned for the economy with enormous amounts of pent-up financial energy waiting to be released, like a coiled spring... expect the turn in sentiment, spending and the economy to be rapid – a light-switch being flicked rather than a dimmer-switch being turned."

He cites several contributing factors:

1. Household psychology (we've been bottled up for a year & want to catch up on what we've missed)

2. Household finances (savings nest eggs have grown so more opportunity to spend)

3. Companies (previously blighted by Brexit and Covid-19, can now splash their cash)

4. Government spending

We hope he's right. Recent Financial Conduct Authority research reminds us that not everyone will be feeling plush. Across 2020, UK adults with low financial resilience (over indebtedness or low savings or erratic earnings) have grown from 10.7m to 14.2m and 25% will struggle to make ends meet. As ever, one size does not fit all, marketing messaging and media targeting will need to be finely tuned.

Mind the gap

IPA Touchpoints have released their latest research entitled 'Making sense. The commercial media landscape 3rd edition'. It reveals that the gap is ever widening between 16 - 34s and 55+ when it comes to how they spent their commercial media time during lockdown. The similarity between the audiences has reduced from 21% in pre-lockdown 2020 to 8% during lockdown!

Simon Frazier, Senior Research and Marketing Manager, IPA suggests: "What is clear is that the lockdown has undoubtedly reinforced the dominance of key media for the different audiences and exacerbated the differences".

Key findings include:

- Traditional TV viewing for all adults saw a comeback in lockdown 2020

- Mobiles (smartphone + tablet) now command over double (56%) the share of time of 16-34s than they spend with the TV set (23%).

- During lockdown, 79% of 16-34's total commercial media time was spent on digital channels versus 48% for all adults

- Online video has grown the fastest in the last 5 years and for the first time 16-34s have watched more online video than recorded/live TV in lockdown.

It will be interesting to see if subsequent lockdowns have cemented these behaviours when restrictions are eased. Agile media planning and implementational flexibility remains key.

Subscription services surge

As reported in Marketing Week, online subscriptions for services such as next-day delivery, streaming and shopping are all on the up - an obvious by-product of the pandemic.

37% of consumers subscribed to next-day delivery services such as Amazon Prime and

monthly subscription-based products have also seen increases, notably beauty and personal hygiene products, clothes, cleaning products and alcohol. Paid media services have also increased including video and music streaming as well as subscriptions to online/print newspapers.

Unsurprisingly, with a finger in the next day delivery, streaming and grocery pies, Prime is living up to its name. In 2020, Amazon's UK sales jumped 52% to £19.4 billion (from £12.8 the previous year) as quoted in Minutehack. The pandemic has been overwhelmingly positive for the tech giant and expect further investment, expansion and growth in 2021.

Looking specifically at paid video streaming services, Kantar's Dominic Sunnebo notes in The Guardian that:

In the fourth quarter (of 2020) 1.3 million British households took out a new video streaming subscription, and Amazon’s Prime Video captured almost half of these...Amazon’s increasing focus on live sports continues to pay big dividends.”

Despite hot competition from the likes of Netflix and Disney+, Amazon's video offering (including live sport), coupled with the convenience of Prime delivery, proved a big draw at Christmas.

Source: Kantar (excludes free ad-supported services and includes bundle deals)

Beware of the Opt out

This Spring, advertising on Apple devices, particularly in-app advertising, is going to be affected by the new privacy function in an iOS 14 update. Users will give permission for apps to track them and/or access their Apple device advertising identifier (IDFA). This change could significantly impact Facebook as an 'opt out' reduces the information Facebook receives, and will have implications on their social, mobile-web and in-app campaigns across both Facebook and Instagram. Opt outs mean advertisers will no longer be able to track demographic data, can't include the user in 'test and control' audiences and retargeting won't be allowed.

Facebook has taken steps to mitigate the likely fall out in campaign performance due to the reduction in overall volumes and accuracy. Your digital specialist should be preparing for these upcoming changes - if you've got any questions, just give us a shout.

Why should bread have all the fun...?

To end on a lighter note, we enjoyed the comedic repartee of brands' joining Weetabix's beans debate on social media. Who says there's no place for humour in advertising?!

Our highlights from this viral success - enjoy...


M.i. Media is the media agency for clients seeking to accelerate their growth through effective advertising. Click here to get in touch.