Cost of Living increases – navigating challenging times

Cost of Living Trends UK Wellbeing

In this free webinar, Associate Partner Carol McNaughton Nicholls at BritainThinks/WorldThinks reveals that research conducted in June 2022 has produced a more nuanced picture of the public mood in the face of rising costs. 

When this video was recorded in July 2022, we couldn’t have known just how much would have changed within two months – despite the past two years seemingly characterised by change and disruption. Costs have continued to rise, we have a new Prime Minister, a new King, and the end of an era with the death of Her Majesty the Queen.

This research was conducted in June 2022, focussing on how the public was feeling and adapting to rising costs. One section is subtitled ‘is there any good news?’, because we wanted to look at the data from new angles to see if there are any positive narratives amidst the gloom. Whilst much has happened since then, and certainly it is fair to say it hasn’t necessarily been good news, the key issues from then remain pertinent now.

Whilst almost everyone is worried about cost-of-living increases, this is being experienced in very different ways by different groups.

Some groups are incredibly vulnerable and have taken all the actions they can to cut back. There needs to be decisive action to support them in the future. They really are at risk of going under.

Others are feeling worried, but optimistic – that they personally have the financial security to weather this storm. For some of these people, this is even an opportunity to make new, better choices in the actions they take and the way they shop, as they think about how to cut back on spending through choice not necessity.

Despite, or perhaps because of, the current social and political turmoil, people still want to find ways to enjoy their lives, and it is in the little moments – hobbies, holidays, family, tv shows…and even ghost hunting – that joy is found.

So, though there is gloom (which may only have increased since this video was made) the resilience of the public also shines through – as insight professionals we mustn’t overlook the human side of the story being told.

Indeed, in these times of change it is vitally important we create a connection between the human story of real people behind the data and our client challenges. This story can be nuanced, surprising, and filled with both joy and sadness. This can be a story of resilience and it is one that also needs to be told in challenging times.

Carol McNaughton Nicholls is an Associate Partner at BritainThinks/WorldThinks. With a focus on social structures and individual psychology, she specialises in finding the human story in data and considering what it means for the brands and organisations she works with