May 10, 2020

Many consumers are not ready for COVID-19 restriction rollbacks

We hear story after story about people longing to dine out again or get a salon haircut instead of one lovingly given by a family member.

Yet as consumer researchers, we know that what people say is not often the same as what they do. At InsightsNow we are monitoring behaviors and attitudes closely as we begin the early stages of re-opening in the United States, focusing tightly on what activities people are actually emotionally ready to do. The extremes are easy—no one wants to take a cruise right now. But what about some of the staples in life? Going to restaurants, taking walks in the park, getting your haircut? How many people are truly ready to get out of the house and get close to other people?

5-14 not ready

We asked our forward-thinking community of Clean Label Enthusiasts® (CLE) just how likely they would be to resume some of their typical activities when restrictions are lifted in their area. The answer is—not many. 70% say they are not yet emotionally ready and want to stay home because going out and doing their normal activities makes them feel uncomfortable. If fact, the negative response was so great that it is clearer to report on what CLE are NOT willing to do than what they are willing to do.


Activities Which People are NOT Willing to Do

COVID-19 is rapidly changing our behaviors and what activities we are comfortable doing.

The reality is that a majority of Clean Label Enthusiasts® are still quite worried and fearful of the virus, specifically how it will affect them and people they love. This fear directly impacts what products

 they feel are safe, and what products they will buy and use; therefore, we all need to be diligent to monitor carefully how we are contextually positioning our products and brands, in order that we don’t inadvertently associate it with an avoidance behavior.  

For example, CLE are avoiding activities where there are confined spaces. Confined spaces limit the ability for them to move around in the space to avoid other people and their germs being deposited inside (airplanes, movie theaters, small stores. etc.). Further, confined spaces may signal lack of control over cleanliness and germ safety (community amenities like playground equipment, shopping malls, Etc.), which are key priorities for Clean Label Enthusiasts. If your business is dependent on confined spaces, consider modifying your current communication plans and imagery or innovate to use contexts related to nature, the outdoors, or small safely spaced gatherings.

This information also helps us understand how best to associate your products and brands through advertisement.

Avoid associating your brand with activities and contexts that people are avoiding. For instance, placing your brand in context at a movie theater when 71% of CLE who go to movie theaters are too scared to go—even if they were open—would connect your brand to strong negative avoidance emotions. Instead, associate your brand with open spaces such as outdoors activities.

While consumer confidence is clearly affected by the unfolding realities of the virus, your marketing and product development teams can work to create positive, calming associations with your brand. By understanding the  consumer’s emotional journey, you can support the positive emotions that lead to current consumer choice and long term loyalty.


Photo by George Stackpole on Unsplash