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The M&S Family Index Report, September 2021

Whereas the first M&S Family Matters survey captured attitudes after a year of Covid-19 lockdown, the new survey covers family feelings and plans as life started to return to normal, with more freedom to mix with friends and family beyond households and to travel. It tells a story of relief, reflection, changing priorities and renewed commitment to family – all shaped by the experience of living through the pandemic.

The first M&S Family Matters Index is the benchmark study to understand what really matters to families in the UK, today and in the years to come. Through regular quarterly reports we will explore what family life looks like, the challenges families face, and their ambitions and plans for the future.

In this report we will be continuing the Family Matters Index and looking at the following four core themes which emerged from our qualitative and quantitative research:

  1. Post-lockdown family feelings
  2. Family events (& family Christmas)
  3. Lifestyle changes
  4. Family concerns now



This second quarterly M&S Family Matters report follows up the themes emerging from the first report, launched in July. It vividly captures how living through Covid has affected the outlook of families across the UK and its impact on their plans and priorities.

The experience of lockdown has made families and family moments matter more to most people. In the near term, that means that upcoming family events have acquired special significance because Covid restrictions made it impossible to celebrate them properly over the last year. This research particularly identifies Christmas as a major focal point for many.

This report also reveals that the experience of the pandemic has changed people’s horizons in longer term and more fundamental ways. Most of us – across all different demographic groups, across the country and in all the varieties, shapes, and sizes of family – have been caused to reflect on our lives by the unprecedented context of Covid. In various ways, many millions of people say they are planning changes to their lifestyle as a result.

It is equally striking that as the UK started to put Covid restrictions behind us, with work, social lives and family activities all starting to return to something a bit more like normal, many people are increasingly concerned about sustainability. This M&S Family Matters report finds an overwhelming among families that businesses should be doing everything they can to address climate change and a clear majority wanting shops to ensure products are as sustainable as possible.