What we have seen, will see, and recommend for landlords navigating Covid-19

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What we have seen, will see, and recommend for landlords navigating Covid-19

The pandemic has brought with it unprecedented challenges, and the property sector has had to continually endure obstacles to persevere through the last 10 months. Through monitoring consumer movement and sentiment, CACI has observed several key trends, that have thrown the balance for pre-pandemic use of space.

What we’ve seen
The safety first consumer: we are now faced with a consumer that didn’t exist a year ago. A consumer that prioritises personal safety over all else. This means that before any subsequent decision making is made, a sense of safety is the initial hurdle that must be crossed for engagement to take place.

Flexible working is here to stay: many have not been able to use their office spaces since March, and as a result the routines and behaviour associated with working from home have embedded. It is now unlikely we will return to the office five days per week

Financially, we are not all in it together: We are in a deep recession, and a as a result we have seen a rapid polarisation of our nation, in what was already a very unequal society in terms of wealth.

We love local: we are engaging more with our local high streets than in recent memory; as city centres have been forced to shut much of the culture and leisure based offer, we are now using our local high streets for much of our day-to-day spend.

What we will see going forward
Despite the doom and gloom in the midst of the third hard national lockdown, CACI have found reason to be cautiously optimistic for the future. The vaccine is currently being rolled out across the UK, and our consumer survey found that 86% of people are eager to receive it. This number increases for the most vulnerable in the population. We have identified some key trends to look out for in the coming 12 months:

Stronger local communities: we have all reconnected with our local areas, this will persist long after restrictions are minimised. Gaps in supply in local areas have largely been filled, meaning we will not have to travel as far anymore to obtain what we need.

Improved work/life balance: The role of the office has changed permanently, and the space is more likely to be used for collaboration, innovation and networking. This means that office campuses and wider workplace zones must tailor their offer to support this behaviour.

A polarised consumer: Brands must now understand how their target audience’s circumstances have changed, and whether their product/services are still accessible to their customers.

Brands need to engage a socially aware consumer: The saturation of social media into our daily lives, and the growing engagement with 24 hour news cycles mean that brands must now be visibly socially conscious and transparent, or face reputational damage.

Key recommendations
Based on the trends we have identified and predicted going forward, we have noted some key recommendations for landlords/property owners who are guiding their ships through troubled waters.

Embrace online & digital: With the shift to local, re-opening plans should be adjusted for where customers will be, not where your locations necessarily are. Leveraging online channels to do this are the best method of future proofing your space.

Understand the new role that your space plays: Survival means agility; we are at a critical point in reassessing the new role that communal and private space plays in people’s daily lives. Adapting and evolving to this is imperative.

Hyper localism is here to stay: Consumers are now reconnected with their local areas; brands must tailor their offer to this. A blanket, one size fits all strategy will no longer wash.

Know your customer: Underpinning all insight is the importance in understanding your customer, to make the best decisions for them.

Hannah Smith. Senior Consultant. CACI

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