Mintel Shares Observations on COVID-19 Related Consumer Changes


Lifestyle impacts stand out as the top concern for obvious reasons. How do brands address a locked-down population?

It’s no secret that fear is rising day by day across the globe now that COVID-19 has reached pandemic status. That level of concern varies drastically among age brackets and other demographic factors, according to surveys Mintel has conducted.
As consumers age, they generally become less concerned about lifestyle changes as a result of the pandemic. 50% of Generation Z, 43% of Millenials, 38% of Generation X, 37% of baby boomers, and 33% of World War II/ Swing Generation consuemrs reported concerns specifically about changes to lifestyle.
This reflects the fact that as consumers age, they are more likely to adapt to settled-in behaviors. It could also affect the impact that COVID-19 has had on various labor sectors dominated by certain age groups in the wake of several “non-essential” businesses shutting down, leaving an undetermined amount of people unemployed or working zero hours. According to the New York Times, unemployment claims have spiked 30% since the pandemic hit the United States, though there is no record of actual job losses across the U.S. to date since the virus surfaced in U.S. citizens.
Research also shows that consumers in the West (46%) and South (43%) show more concern about the effect the outbreak will have on their day-to-day life, meanwhile, 36% of consumers in the Northeast and 32% in the Midwest say they are worried about potential changes.
“As the scope and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, many industries are looking at a chain reaction of challenges, as well as opportunities,” Marissa Gilbert, Mintel Associate Director of U.S. Health and Wellness Reports at Mintel said. “At Mintel, we are always measuring changes in consumer behavior, given the situation, we are taking an even closer look now, and in the weeks to come, at the impact COVID-19 is having on consumer sentiment and behavior.”
“Our new research shows that a large minority of the U.S. population is concerned about the changes the COVID-19 pandemic will create for their lifestyle. We fully expect that worry will continue to rise as U.S. states enforce increasingly stringent social distancing measures,” Gilbert continued. “But, as the days and weeks go on, consumers will begin to settle in and crave a sense of normalcy. They will look to companies and brands as a beacon for guidance and support in navigating what’s next, creating opportunities across industries.”
Homebodies, but not by choice
Consumers, in large part, are now occupied by what lies within the walls of their homes. Some things within their control that will likely be a focus are housekeeping and personal hygiene. 63% of Americans say that they are washing their hands more often, and 46% are using hand saniziter more often. Just 24% say they are stocking up on groceries and other supplies. 20% of consumers surveyed say that the outbreak has not changed their habits.
Mintel recommends some steps that they observed certain brands taking to get involved in consumers’ augmented daily lives. Essentially, it is helpful to make consumers feel more at home, while at home.
“Most consumers are making small, manageable changes to their day-to-day lives in order to ensure their health and wellness and that of those around them, for example washing their hands more often,” Gilbert said. “However, while we’re seeing images of consumers stockpiling toilet paper and frozen foods on the news and in social media, in reality, only a small percentage are taking those more extreme steps. In fact, our research shows that 20% of Americans haven’t made any changes as a result of the outbreak. We do expect this number to decrease in the coming days and weeks, but for now, it shows that education and support are two important considerations for brands when strategizing how they are speaking to consumers during these uncertain times which will help to ease consumer worry.”