Industry Insights
by: Lois Fearne
Dec 05, 2023
5 min read

What got Brits Pulsing…

Grab a cuppa (or a Baileys, given the season) and join us as we explore the highlights and the not-as-high-lights of the past twelve months…

Before we put another year of Pulsing behind us, it’s time to take a trip down memory lane and relive the moments that defined 2023 for the UK. So grab a cuppa (or a Baileys, given the season) and join us as we explore the highlights and the not-as-high-lights of the past twelve months…


RMT and Amazon kicked off the strikes. At the outset, 78% were in favour of these strikes. However, fast forward to December, just 41% remain supportive. An arctic snap swept the UK, resulting in 78% questioning the country’s ability to handle snow. And Prince Harry dropped THAT memoir, which ended up in 2 in 3 having an unfavourable view of the Sussexes and siding with the royal family.


The Church of England ignited a spirited debate as 58% questioned their decision to stop referring to God as “he”. Meanwhile, supermarkets grappled with supply chain issues due to adverse weather conditions, leading to lighter baskets for 60% of shoppers. And, it was revealed that the much-loved Sunday Roast is declining. Why? 60% are turning to alternative cooking methods (aka the air fryer trend is still going VERY strong!)


Rail passengers were hit with the biggest fare hike (5.9%) in over a decade, leaving 81% questioning the value of their tickets amid cancellations and strikes. An EU probe found that nearly half of imported honey is fake, prompting 54% of honey lovers to consider switching to local options. And the temporary removal of Gary Lineker from Match of the Day stirred a nationwide debate, with 69% believing it was a wrong move by the BBC.


The Lionesses made a notable change by unveiling blue shorts instead of white, highlighting concerns related to female athletes’ periods, which resonated with 84% of women. Wahaca made an eco-conscious commitment by removing beef from its menus, receiving support from 25% of meat eaters. On a more sombre note, the UK saw a record-high number of sick days in 2022, with Brits taking an average of nine sick days due to physical health concerns. 


Charles officially ascended to the throne as King, and 74% say he’s effectively fulfilling his role as Monarch. ChatGPT issued a firm reminder that it cannot substitute for a qualified psychologist or counsellor. Despite this, 1 in 10 have turned to AI chatbots for mental health support. In all things social media, concerns arose about harmful TikTok trends, prompting 91% to call for more robust measures on the platforms.


June brought scorching temperatures, leading 70% to indulge in classic British “It’s too hot!” grumble. Meanwhile, IKEA announced they are to replace Marabou and Daim with their own-brand items, a decision that didn’t go down well with 27% that claim a trip to the flatpack giant is incomplete without grabbing Daim on the way out. And Sir Elton John bid farewell to the UK at Glastonbury 2023, a festival experience on the bucket list of 1 in 3.


Thunderstorms made the headlines, but 2 in 3 find the sound of thunder relaxing, so we’re all good, fewer grumbles this time! Doctors kicked off the longest strike in NHS history, and 54% backed their decision. But the REAL showstopper was Barbieheimber, which swept across the box office, raking in £30 million in its opening weekend, though 77% believe its impact on the cinema industry will be a temporary trend.


The Premier League was back! 21% of fans confessed that if football didn’t exist, they’d be saving some serious dough and feeling less stressed (18%). Wilko faced financial challenges, despite 33% turning to discount retailers more in 2023. And Oxford’s Churchill Hospital made history by carrying out the UK’s first womb transplant. A groundbreaking feat that left 59% optimistic that womb transplants will become a common fertility treatment within their lifetime


Tesco announced that its staff are being offered body cameras amid a rise in violent attacks, whilst the majority (67%) admitted increased frustration while shopping due to the high cost of living. Elsewhere, at 10 Downing Street, Rishi Sunak announced a ban on American XL Bully following a recent spike in attacks. This decision has garnered support from 56%. And up north, the vandalism of the iconic Sycamore Gap saddened 73% who considered it a cultural landmark.


85% welcomed the government’s decision to increase the national living wage to £11 per hour, though 15% hoped for more. A first-class stamp price hike to £1.25 led 38% to reconsider their Christmas card-sending habits. Despite no home nation victories, 1 in 3 followed the Rugby World Cup from the comfort of their homes or local pubs, avoiding the bed bug troubles faced by fans in France.


We went Down Under for the return of I’m a Celeb, where 65% of Pulsers flexed their psychic prowess, correctly predicting Jamie Lynn Spears’ early jungle exit. Meanwhile, back home, parts of the country experienced the coldest November night in 13 years, prompting 45% to bravely knock up their heating by a degree or two. And animal abandonments hit a three-year peak across the UK. But on a brighter note, 65% of the community has either rescued or knows someone who’s turned abandoned animals into tales of heartwarming heroism.


The Christmas countdown is on, and we’re wrapping up the year just as we started – with train strikes cancelling plans for 1 in 4. But let’s sleigh the negativity and jingle back to festive cheer! Materialism, step aside because all Pulsers have their sights set on is a Christmas filled with family time and joy. So move over gifts; they’d rather unwrap moments than materialist treasures. And the generosity doesn’t end there – 47% are upping their shopping game at charity shops this year, with 77% spreading the holiday spirit by believing that shopping there aligns perfectly with the true essence of giving during this season of joy!

What a year it’s been, full of twists and turns, debates, and surprises. Here’s to another year of Pulsing, and who knows what stories and insights it will bring next!

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