Majority of consumers won’t return to economic activities for 1 month or longer, survey finds

Dive Brief:

  • Sixty nine percent of consumers are still worried about the pandemic and 46% say they will hold off on normal consumer behaviors because of concerns about their safety or the safety of their loved ones, according to details provided by Kantar about Wave 6 of its COVID-19 Barometer research. The findings are based on interviews with more than 100,000 consumers in more than 60 markets.
  • Sixty percent of consumers don’t expect to re-engage for at least another month and 30-50% don’t expect to go shopping, go to restaurants or bars, travel, or go to the gym or the movies for another two to three months, or possibly longer.
  • Kantar’s research pinpoints six distinct “coronavirus tribes” based on levels of concern and consumption to help marketers develop messaging. Ostriches (12% of consumers) don’t understand or care what everyone is so worried about. Que Seras (22%) consider the rules excessive. Hibernators (12%) accept what’s going on and don’t want constant updates. Good Citizens (22%) want to be informed and see the rules followed. Distressed Dreamers (18%) are concerned about personal health and finances but have an optimistic outlook. Precarious Worriers (13%) are very scared and wish the government did more.

Dive Insight:

Coronavirus concerns are still causing people to hold back on their consumption as they worry about their personal health and the spread of disease, according to Kantar’s latest research. However, consumers display varying levels of response to their concerns and understanding those differences can help marketers communicate more effectively and help spur their return to economic activity as the pandemic continues.

“Real concern remains about how safe it is to re-engage in day-to-day life,” said Rosie Hawkins, chief innovation officer at Kantar, in a statement. “Containing the pandemic is key to economic recovery. This is the responsibility of governments, but brands too can play a role in engaging with consumers in a way that empathises with their concerns and inspires them to action with new and, importantly, safe experiences and offers.”

Many consumers are still holding off on even the most basic of behaviors like going shopping, going out to eat and visiting the gym or the cinema, with some planning to hold off on these behaviors for at least the next couple of months. Many are also holding off on big purchases and on making life-changing decisions like moving, getting divorced and having a baby.

However, Kantar’s research highlights specific categories that could bounce back faster. For instance, 31% of consumers said they are planning a staycation this summer, presenting an opportunity for marketers offering products and services for these consumers. The report also reveals that the current financial uncertainty has made people more interested in building financial wellbeing. For those that have the money, they may be interested in investing or savings, and one in four plan to take out more insurance.

Investing strategically around messaging that caters to the different tribes can help marketers drive results, per Kantar. For example, Distressed Dreamers may respond better to practical reassurance along the path-to-purchase while Ostriches are likely to respond to brands that reduce friction, so they can forget the pandemic is happening.

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