News | Published April 15 2020

FlyResearch commissions weekly Covid-19 polls

FlyResearch, a London based online market research agency, combines proven methodologies with the latest research techniques to deliver useful data quickly. It also owns what managing partner Dave Waddell calls the “fastest research panel in the UK”. In conversation with The Parliamentary Review, fellow managing partner Greg Ward discusses how the research panel has been used throughout the coronavirus pandemic via weekly surveys to determine how the crisis is impacting them, offering new insights into the impact of Covid-19 on daily life.

First and foremost, the major concern Ward aired which is currently hanging over the business  is that, to date, it is not yet possible to determine how the Covid-19 outbreak will ultimately impact FlyResearch as a business.

Ward said: “We are fortunate that we had a very strong month of March thanks to surveys that were commissioned before the crisis became so obvious. But at this point in time, we have literally zero committed going forwards, hence we have had to furlough many in the team under the government's Job Retention Scheme.

“Of course, we don’t yet know if this is likely to continue for the duration of the lockdown or whether it is merely a short-term hiatus as people get used to the ‘new normal’ of working from home. We are still quoting for jobs, so we remain hopeful. In our experience the research market tends to reflect what is happening in the advertising industry and that is, very understandably, down considerably at the present time”.

Turning attention to the weekly surveys, Ward explained: “To keep busy, we are running a weekly survey to our research panel on how the coronavirus crisis is impacting on them. We have a simple set of questions that we ask each week and are then adding some additional ones on a different theme each week.”

It suffices to say that these surveys have thrown up some fascinating results.

“For the week commencing April 6, I am pleased to say that 60 per cent of our panel fed back that they remain healthy, and that the biggest reason for not answering that way was for emotional, rather than physical, reasons, with 30 per cent informing us of that”, Ward said.

“However, on the flip-side to that, we have nine per cent of our panel suffering with mild symptoms and currently just 0.4 per cent with severe ones. More unfortunately, four per cent already know somebody who has passed away.

“With those figures in mind, it comes as little surprise that a sizeable 60 per cent of the panel described themselves as ‘concerned’ by the outbreak and around a third told us that the outbreak had made them ‘scared’”, Ward added.

However, despite the polls suggesting some real concern among panel members, the figures did shine a light on reasons to be positive.

“Around a third of respondents on the panel described themselves as being ‘hopeful’ of the future, with only a five per cent handful of the panel saying that they have been rendered ‘desperate’ as a result of the pandemic”, Ward highlighted.

Rather interestingly, one question that FlyResearch has repeatedly asked the panel each week is how good of a job they feel the UK government is doing in responding to the crisis.

Concerning the week commencing April 6, Ward said: “On a scale of one to ten, one being negative and ten being positive, around 36 per cent of respondents scored the government positively for their response to the pandemic, that being a score of eight, nine or ten.

"14 per cent scored the government negatively, with a score of one to three, with around 50 per cent of the panel scoring in the middle, from four to seven.”

According to Ward, FlyResearch’s weekly surveys had also revealed a change in people’s buying and spending habits, brought about by government guidelines to remain at home other than to leave the house for exercise and to shop for essential items.

“Most of the panel, 66 per cent of it in fact, are spending less money at the moment according to the figures”, Ward revealed.

“More interestingly, however, our figures only show four per cent of people who admit to having stockpiled, leading us to believe that most of the stockpiling reported by retailers was probably being done by people who are unwilling to admit that that was what they have done!”

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The Parliamentary Review

April 15 2020

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