The answers keep coming in to our on-going Let’s Ask questions.
As a reminder, Echo is offering at no charge, access to our database and the participants that follow us on social media. We will facilitate the programming, hosting and data-collection of any three open or closed-ended questions. You will receive the raw data and the analyzed results will be shared publicly on our social media and in a newsletter.
The hope, as we’re all getting many questions about how best to behave in relation to research, is to gain some clarity to help our clients (and ourselves) make educated decisions on what the right path forward is.
This is what we’ve heard thus far:
It goes without saying that our day to day lives look quite different in the reality of COVID-19. For most, the physical world has got smaller – working from home, limiting outings, and having children at home as well. But how are people coping? What are they thinking, feeling, doing?
Through a series of ongoing surveys, we’ve taken a closer look at stress, how people are adjusting, potential ‘silver linings’, and shopping behaviors. We’ve also explored how well company and brand messages are resonating, perceptions of government and scientists, and what their thoughts are on the future.
We will continue to update this article as results come in, and if you or any of your colleagues have questions you’d like us to include in the next survey rounds – please just let us know.
It’s stressful – but are some things more concerning than others?
People are most concerned about their health and family. Since COVID-19, consumers are substantially more worried about their health (55% vs 28%) and their family’s health (67% vs 33%). Less than one-third (29%) are confident they will get the healthcare they need if they get COVID-19. Many also commented that they are concerned about their finances and employment.
Since COVID-19, people are more anxious about the future (65% vs 36%).
“The anxiety it has brought has changed the whole atmosphere in our house. We are bored and get agitated easily. Family members are being more short tempered. The uncertainty is scary!”
For parents – schooling children at home, especially while still working themselves, can
be a big adjustment.
“Freedom… gone. I am forced to be my son’s everything. Parent. Teacher. Playmate”
…and is the stress impacting people in the same way?
There are two different groups emerging – 55% report not losing sleep over what they cannot control, or that they have faith in God. For the other 45%, the worry and anxiety is keeping them up at night.
How are people adjusting and coping day to day?
41% report that their health and wellness routine has changed for the better, with 88% of those saying they will likely continue with the positive changes once the pandemic subsides. Lifestyle adjustments and new routines are focused on keeping the whole family safe and well.
People are taking a well-rounded approach – including physical exercise, staying positive and managing stress levels, eating healthy, taking vitamins, and staying connected with friends
“We try to take care of ourselves first with routine, self care, and inward reflection.”
“We are adding more vegetables and fruit in our meals. We cut out soda completely.”
… but is this true of everyone?
30% report that their health and wellness routine hasn’t changed, while another 30% say that their routine has actually changed for the worse.
Of those who report negative health and wellness changes, 36% say those changes are likely to continue post-pandemic.
For many, working from home is the new norm. How are they finding it?
30% report feeling very engaged during their workday, while almost 25% reporting feeling very/somewhat disconnected.
About 70% report that their company has launched at least one initiative to
help keep them engaged (Zoom meetings, daily calls, flex time and more).
Yet 30% say their company is “doing nothing, really.”
What can companies do to best support and engage their employees?
When asked what one thing their company could do to make them feel most appreciated, almost half said some type of gift card (Visa, Amazon, restaurant, etc.).
After gift cards, the top things companies could do for their employees were practical assistance and helping with health and wellness – supply tech accessories such as headphones and speakers (20%), run a healthy activities challenge (20%), and enable access to a 30-minute online therapy session (17%).
Consumption has moved to all in-home… so have shopping lists changed?
For the majority, their shopping lists have not changed much during COVID-19.
Sixty-percent of US consumers say that their typical shopping list has not changed dramatically or only a little. The 24% that have made dramatic changes are thinking more long-term and if they will continue to have access to stores.
Life has slowed. What are people doing with their spare time, besides watching Netflix?
For many, there is a sense of getting back to basics and what is truly important. For some, this has also been a time of pause and reflection, and ‘recalibrating’. While it is a stressful time across the board, the majority appreciate the positives, including:
- Quality time with family: time at home with children and partners
- Focusing on health: exercise routines and eating healthier
- Keeping in touch: making time for friends and family catch ups (67%)
- Getting their homes in tip-top shape: cleaning, home projects, personal admin
- Keeping up to date: 74% are following health/science news
- Re-finding old joys – or discovering new ones: 71.5% report having time for hobbies/activities/joys of theirs, including reading, writing, painting, music, puzzles and games, and exercise.
In addition to their other activities… are they open to participating in market research?
An overwhelming majority are open to participating in market research studies right now. In fact, when asked if there were any topics that would make them feel uncomfortable, the majority said they were open to participating in research on “just about anything.”
Across most age cohorts and US regions, about 90% or more say they are extremely interested in participating in paid market research studies from their home. Interest drops slightly among those 55+ (86.8%) and in the West (88.9%) and is highest among 40-54 year-olds (92.5%) and in the South (93.8%).
“I’m fine with participating in any research. It’s something else outside of my house to focus on.”
Has COVID-19 changed their perceptions on regarding the government and scientists?
A majority (65%) still generally trust scientists, but 53% feel that they need to work faster on a cure. There are mixed responses on how well people believe the government is handling the situation, but trust is decreased – currently at 18%, down from 26% pre-COVID-19. Similarly, trust in the media is also decreased – currently at 22%, compared with 27% pre-pandemic.
The belief that the United States is a world-leader has also been shaken more significantly, with 47% feeling this way before Covid-19 and only 29% now.
Most consumers agree on their perceptions of Municipal, Local and State governments – evenly dividing between “they can do more” vs “they are doing all they can”. Consumers feel that the Federal Government did not act quickly enough and that their messages were confusing and unclear (61% and 58% somewhat/strongly agree, respectively).
And what about household brands and companies… What do people think of how they are responding?
Almost 9 of 10 have received some sort of corporate or brand message via email. Companies and brands are batting around 0.500 on Coronavirus messages – while 43% find the corporate/brand emails they are receiving “somewhat useful” 15% delete them without reading, 21% find them “somewhat useless” and 5% say they are “infuriating.”
One respondent said:
“honestly I haven’t even read most of them. I’ve gotten emails from companies I barely use. But for the ones I do use, I care more about how they’re treating the workers during this rather than their specific effort to clean their stores or whatever.”
Thinking to the future…
Over half of consumers surveyed feel it will take longer than 2 to 3 months until the world is back to “normal”.
People are anticipating long-term lifestyle and mindset changes, once COVID-19 subsides.
Whatever the “new normal” looks like, 70% or more say they will “enjoy the little things in life” more, be more “mindful of public and personal hygiene,” and “feeling grateful.”
People say they will be much more practical-minded, and are predicting it to change the way they work – seeing the potential to work from home more.
As one respondent aptly put it:
“more mindful of hygiene, grateful for social interaction and health.”
What about socializing, travel, and other day-to-day activities?
People are anticipating a quieter lifestyle, and staying closer to home. About 4 out of 10 say that when this is over they will “travel internationally” and go out to restaurants and bars less, and attend fewer professional events or other large social gatherings.