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2 November 2023

Bauer Insiders: Living in the Polycrisis

In the UK, people are living in times of political uncertainty, a weak post-pandemic economy, with energy and food prices soaring against a backdrop of war in Europe. The resulting inflationary pressures have contributed to a global cost-of-living crisis which has led to social unrest and hardship for many.
This report looks at how UK consumers are navigating pressures arising from the polycrisis and how they are dealing with the impact on their lives.

New ways of spending

Cost of living remains of high concern amongst consumers, although there are some small indications of stabilisation and that people are learning to cope better. Despite this, 89% of people are concerned about the cost of living crisis and 74% are always looking for ways to save money.
Younger consumers remain more affected than older generations, but everyone is finding that the cost of food and energy is putting pressure on household budgets. There are some key differences between age groups on which bills are causing the most pressure however, with 16–34-year-olds more affected by subscription prices, housing, taxes, transport, childcare and interest rates. Those in the 35-44 age group are also particularly affected by childcare and housing costs.

New ways of working

1 in 3 continue to work from home at least some of the time and the majority of these enjoy their current working balance, with nearly half of those who work from home saying that it is beneficial to their mental health. This is displayed prominently in many of the younger generation consumers, as 51% of 16-34 year olds and 52% of 35-44 year olds claim that working from home has improved their mental health. Radio continues to be 47% agree ‘the radio keeps me company whilst working from home’.

New ways of coping

Looking Back
The comfort of nostalgia is a refuge for many, and music is central to this with its power to transport listeners back to good times. 68% feel nostalgic at least once a month and 35-44 year-olds are the most nostalgic age group (76%). Listening to music from across the decades is helping audience escape reality, with 65% saying that listening to music from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s provides them with an escape in difficult times.

Looking Up

People are feeling that they spend too much time on screens and therefore switching off from tech. Contrary to this, seeking out positive and mood-enhancing media content is vital for many, with radio and magazines playing a key role in lifting mood and providing escape.

Looking Forward

The insight found that most people envisage a future full of good times so are planning entertainment, escape and experiences to provide something positive to look forward to. To escape from the stress of the wider world, 33% want to go to more live music gigs, 70% are planning to go on a short break this year, 60% plan on going on holiday and 33% want to go to the theatre more.