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Market overview for September 2020 - consumer research

We are continuing to publish consumer research collected to understand potential risks to consumers as a result of the Covid-19 period. This month we are publishing further consumer research data collected via the Yonder online omnibus[1]

In previous waves, we used this survey to explore how people’s gambling behaviour (rather than participation) changed as a result of the initial lockdown period, including shifts to online gambling and whether changes have been maintained post-lockdown.

This new Yonder data[2] provides contextual indicators of how the Covid-19 outbreak has affected consumers in terms of the amount of spare time they have, the amount of boredom and stress they have felt, and the amount of conflict they have with other people. It also provides further quantitative data on the reasons why people have increased or decreased their gambling activity during the Covid-19 period.

As sample sizes for these new questions build, we will continue to monitor the impact of Covid-19 on consumers and will explore opportunities for richer data analysis.

How Covid-19 has affected consumers

The new consumer data reinforces how deep the impact of Covid-19 has been on people up and down the country.  Large proportions of the population say they have experienced more stress (46%) and more boredom (43%) while a similar number say the amount of spare time they have has increased.  Almost a fifth (18%) say the amount of conflict they have with others around them has increased since the pandemic hit.  At the same time, comparatively few respondents indicated that they have experienced less of any of these effects (less than 10% for each item).

The survey allows us to analyse whether there is a relationship between these broader impacts on consumers and their gambling behaviour.  Interestingly, those who have gambled are no more likely than average to have experienced increased stress or conflict than non-gamblers.  However, gamblers are more likely than non-gamblers to have experienced increased boredom and an increase in the amount of spare time they have, however we cannot determine the causality of this from the results.

Has your gambling activity increase or decreased during lockdown

Reasons for increased and decreased gambling

In a similar way to previous waves of the consumer research, respondents were asked whether their gambling had increased or decreased since the initial lockdown in March[1].  Previous questions had gathered qualitative feedback on the reasons why consumers had increased or decreased their gambling spend, however in this latest wave of the research we included quantitative questions on this topic to provide more robust data.

The data shows that the most common reasons for increased gambling since the first lockdown were having more spare time (45%), boredom (39%) and that it was something people could still do during lockdown (32%) – at a time when it was not possible to take part in a range of ‘in person’ recreational and leisure activities.

why has your gambling increased

A quarter (25%) of those who increased their spend mentioned feeling low/unhappy as a reason, while 17% cited offers they were sent by gambling companies and 12% said they increased their gambling to try to substitute lost income.  As noted in our previous release, responses such as these show the need for continued vigilance from operators.

The more ‘engaged gamblers’ (those participating in 3 or more activities) were more likely to state most of the reasons, while ‘it was something I could still do during lockdown’ was mentioned most by the less engaged gamblers who take part in only 1 or 2 activities.

Among those who had decreased their gambling since the first lockdown, the main reasons given were ‘I lost interest’ (46%) and ‘I had less money’ (30%).  The absence of activities previously enjoyed (e.g. sport) and being unable to visit gambling premises in person were cited by 19% and 16% of respondents respectively.

The lack of activities/sports previously enjoyed was more likely to be mentioned by men (28%) and younger people aged 16-34 (32%).  Younger respondents were also much more likely than those aged 35 and over to say that being unable to visit premises had influenced their reduced gambling activity since the March lockdown.

why has your gambling decreased

[1] In previous releases we reported this as a Populus survey.  Populus changed their name to Yonder on 1 October 2020.  This survey is separate from the Commission’s quarterly online survey, which is also run by Yonder.

[2] The data in this release is based on a nationally representative sample of 1,110 adults aged 16 and over who participated in the Yonder online omnibus survey between 6-18 October 2020.

[1] Question was based on 802 adults who have gambled in the past 12 months, 15% have increased, 58% stayed the same and 28% decreased.