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FAMILY MATTERS

The M&S Family Index Report, February 2022

In this report we will explore the following three core themes which emerged from our qualitative and quantitative research:

  1. Growing concerns around the environment and family health 
  2. Sustainable living
  3. Lifestyle changes

The M&S Family Matters Index provides an overall measure of how confident and resilient families across the UK are feeling and how those feelings change in the months and years ahead. The index is generated using data from interviews with 5,000 adults from across the UK in November 2021. It also draws on comparative data from an initial nationally representative survey of 10,000 people in May 2021, and an additional 5,000 person survey in August 2021. It is calculated based on their responses to a wide range of detailed questions exploring their happiness, optimism, financial security and future plans.

The M&S Family Matters Index tracks changing attitudes around family over time, as well as comparing how they vary from group to group – for example by generation or geography. Index scores range from 0 to 100, with 0 being the lowest, 100 the highest and 50 the mid-point. Index scores above 50 represent a positive, optimistic perspective about family situation and prospects. The index score is a combination of different factors that define the resilience and confidence of families today: optimism about family prospects, feelings about the strength of families, happiness of families, family health and family financial prospects. The overall Family Index score for the UK as a whole stands at 53, compared to 55 in both March and August, indicating a slight drop in the overall confidence and resilience of families across the UK. The average Family Index Score for both men (55) and women (52) is lower than the previous wave, down from 56 and 54, respectively. 


All these trends are, however, against a less optimistic backdrop for families overall. Concerns are rising around family health and worries over the cost of living are beginning to grow as families consider their short-term and long-term financial prospects. Our next quarterly M&S Family Matters Index will continue to explore these concerns, and whether stronger signs of optimism return as the year continues. 


This report also finds that living through Covid is having an ongoing impact in other ways, even as the risk of the virus itself hopefully recedes. More than half of people have either already made lifestyle changes as a direct result of the pandemic, or plan to do so as we start 2022. The focus of most of these changes is health, wellness and exercise, but the report also points to a continuing churn in the job market for many. This trend is prompted in part by high awareness of the importance of work-life balance in achieving a healthy lifestyle. Sustainability continues to be at the forefront of people’s minds. Ranking as the number one concern for most people, this unease on the behalf of future generations is matched by strong support for retailers doing more to help consumers make sustainable choices. While supportive of action by others, significant numbers of people are looking to change their own behaviour for the benefit of the environment.

All these trends are, however, against a less optimistic backdrop for families overall. Concerns are rising around family health and worries over the cost of living are beginning to grow as families consider their short-term and long-term financial prospects. Our next quarterly M&S Family Matters Index will continue to explore these concerns, and whether stronger signs of optimism return as the year continues.