There is no doubt that the past few months have had a significant effect on the UK and people's lives. The pandemic and subsequent lockdown has initiated unprecedented challenges which have affected us all. Some changes have been positive, while others we would rather forget. Either way, it will be interesting to see which changes will shape future consumer behaviour.
Looking at consumer research from Dataloft, it is clear that the pandemic has impacted buying patterns and behaviour with the term location, location, location taking on a different meaning. COVID-19 has prompted many people to re-evaluate their ideal home. Now, more than ever, buyers are looking for homes with easy access to outdoor space, and it is highly likely that we will see the importance of such space increase. Currently, only 66% of flats have access to private outside space, compared to 97% of houses. Data reveals that there is already a £2,500 price premium for homes within 100 metres of green space when compared with homes 500 metres away. As the value and demand for homes with access to green space increases, we could see a shift in building design moving forward.
Another trend is how consumers commute. While we may have seen homes closer to public transport being sought-after pre-COVID, those who aren’t working from home are now avoiding public transport where possible, and are opting for alternative ways of getting to work. Since lockdown, there has been a 70% increase in people commuting by bicycle, with the government encouraging schemes such as pop-up cycle lanes, wider pavements and school streets. A positive result is that many local authorities have started to make changes based on the trend with the government investing £250 million to secure a lasting legacy of greener, safer transport.
Speaking about people working from home, around 51% of people surveyed by Dataloft claimed to value time saved on their commute most. If people can work from home and have the option to avoid commuting, they will. The lockdown has proven to many sceptics that working from home is viable, and even convenient. Before COVID-19, only 5% of people mainly worked from home, and less than 30% had ever worked from home. It is unlikely that we will see the end of offices, as many people will miss them, along with the interaction and social benefits. However, working from home could become more common and with it, the relative importance of commute times, broadband speeds and space for a home office.
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