Our behaviours changed massively. Shops and restaurants shut – many permanently – and we shopped more online and watched far more TV and streaming services than ever. We became addicted to news – and comedy to take our minds off the news.
But at the same time, although our behaviours have changed massively in 2020, our fundamental values haven’t. Global concern about climate change has gone on rising. Our expectations of brands to do the ‘right’ thing have only strengthened.
Sixty-eight per cent of people told us they want bosses to speak out on social and political issues, and the proportion saying they want to buy from brands that reflect their values grew from 56% to 72%. Both in business, and in the country as a whole, the lockdowns and their consequences seem to have focused us on inequality. People don’t want to go back to exactly the same country that we were before.
We saw the highest ever level of concern about race relations in Britain this summer, in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd in America and the Black Lives Matter protests here that followed it. This focused British people on inequalities here: 67% of businesses now say they will be doing more to boost inclusion and diversity in 2021.
In politics, Keir Starmer had some of the highest satisfaction ratings for any opposition leader we have ever seen, and he’s managed to gradually drag the Labour Party to be seen as less ‘extreme’, and more ‘fit to govern’, but not to any commanding lead in the polls. In fact, the most popular politician in Britain in 2020 was Nicola Sturgeon, with 74% of people in Scotland saying she was doing a good job fighting the pandemic – and 56% of Scots saying they would vote to leave the UK. This is despite the fact that actually what’s happened with the virus in Scotland has been quite similar to what’s going on in England, but shows the post-Brexit divide in politics between Scotland and England, and how the Scots see Brexit and indeed Boris Johnson.