956 Words|5 Mins Reading |29/3/2020 

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Coronavirus: How Consumers Are Actually Reacting

Coronavirus is on all our minds, screens and feeds – and for good reason.
The outbreak is causing fluid and unpredictable changes to our day-to-day lives, and businesses everywhere are understandably worried about the impact it will have on them.

COVID-19 is already having a drastic impact on consumer outlook, perceptions and behaviors. The findings from a survey (12 March 2020) on the topics across the U.S. and UK prove it.

Here are the most important things to know:

1. Concern is widespread, but younger consumers are worried most

With over 100 countries having reported coronavirus cases and as a result of high-profile media coverage, it’s not surprising that over 90% of consumers in the U.S. and UK now feel concerned. But the strength of this concern varies significantly by age.

While 96% of Gen Zs are concerned, this drops to 90% among baby boomers.

And whereas almost 60% of Gen Zs and millennials are very or extremely concerned, the same sentiment is felt by just 40% of boomers.

2. 8 in 10 consumers have changed their behaviors because of the virus

Over 80% of those involved in survey showed that they have made at least one change to their day-to day lives as a direct result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Understandably, the most popular response is to wash hands more frequently (6 in 10), but that’s not the only change we’re seeing.

4 in 10 are reading the news more frequently.
3 in 10 are trying to avoid touching public surfaces such as doorknobs / elevator buttons.
2 in 10 are altering their daily routines to avoid rush hour and crowded places.

Generational differences are once again key here.

90% of Gen Zs are making changes to their daily lives. This is compared to 75% of baby boomers.

Men are more likely to be making work-related changes around upcoming trips or commuting patterns, while the U.S. has a significant lead over the UK in terms of checking social media more frequently.

3. Knowledge levels vary – especially by age

When we ask consumers to identify fact from fiction when it comes to coronavirus, we can begin to understand why levels of concern might be slightly lower among older age groups.

Baby boomers are the most likely to know how to minimize the risks of infection (e.g. by avoiding touching their eyes, noses or mouths with unwashed hands). 

Boomers are also the least likely generation to believe the urban myths that have been circulating in some corners: of the 8 myths we asked about, Gen Z were almost 60% more likely than boomers to believe at least one of them. 

There are profound country-based differences too:
2 in 3 in the UK believe that “most people recover from the diseases without special treatment”, compared to less than 1 in 3 in the U.S.

4. Work routines are already changing, especially for millennials

Changes to work routines are most pronounced among males and millennials.
Currently, millennials are the most likely to report altering the way they commute, as well as increased levels of remote working.

In terms of changes enacted by companies, employees report the most common measures being the provision of sanitization products, as well as more regular communications and more frequent office cleaning.

Only 10% currently say that remote working is being encourages.
Some 15% say they’ve seen no changes at all, with business carrying on as normal. As government-implemented restrictions increase over the coming days, we would expect these last two measures to change the most dramatically.

5. Airlines are having a responsibility

When we asked consumers what steps they felt were necessary to manage the spread of the virus, over half said that airlines should be reducing and cancelling flights to high-risk destinations.

However, the generation splits here are once again profound, with boomers often having a 20-point lead over their Gen Z counterparts. 

The only reversal of this comes in relation to closing all schools where (with a vested interest) Gen Z takes the lead.

6. There’s considerable enthusiasm for digital health appointments

Digital / virtual health appointments have been suggested as one way to deliver health assistance while minimizing the spread of the virus. 

And there’s considerable consumer support for this:
Over 6 in 10 believe they’re effective and would consider using them.

Belief that digital health appointments are effective remains consistent across geography, age and income. But while only about 15% of people say they’re definitely not open to them, this rises to over 25% among boomers. 

Older consumers will therefore need the most convincing and reassurance over their efficacy.

7. Fears of a global recession are pronounced

Over half of consumers think a global recession is now likely. A further 1 in 3 are unsure, leaving fewer than 1 in 10 who think a recession is unlikely.

From an age perspective, Gen Zs are more likely to be in the “uncertain” group. High-income groups are twice as likely as lower income ones to think a recession is extremely likely, while men are ahead of women.

Moving with consumers

All this research tells us one thing for certain: consumers are changing. It’s obvious of course – in the face of a pandemic, the way we think, behave and perceive the world starts to alter. But what’s crucial for brands is knowing how that change is manifesting itself – and how they should be reacting.

The severity of the epidemic influences consumers to make drastic changes in their life and business operation. 

To empower entrepreneurial success, YYC group believe that we are in this together, let’s fight against COVID-19. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for any assistance as we are here by your side!

Contact Number: 019-368 6868Email Address: enquiry@yyc.my

All stats: GlobalWebIndex March 2020 custom survey among 2,310 (U.S.) and 2,229 (UK) internet users aged 16-64. Sources (资料源自): GlobalWebIndex 12 March 2020 

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