Many of us would love a physical throwback to 2019 before our lives were impacted by the pandemic. To check in on how consumers are feeling, Kantar’s Barometer revisited consumer attitudes, habits and expectations.
Although each country is in a very different situation, the virus is still of huge concern with anxiety and caution remaining top of the list.
Forty-two percent of all respondents feel that there has been an impact on their mental wellbeing with 18 to 24-year-olds being the most severely affected.
This was backed up by the local Pharma Dynamics survey completed with more than 1 200 South African adults which stated that:
- 56% have higher levels of psychological and emotional distress than before the pandemic.
- 44% struggle to relax and 49% feel anxious, 48% frustrated, 31% depressed and a significant 6% have contemplated suicide.
This has had an effect on our workforce who are in react mode, prisoner to their calendar and back-to-back virtual meetings which do not allow for time to process or think before moving along.
Healthy eating and personal development seem to have decreased in importance. Increased activity and time with family have been bumped to the top of the list. We are now more than ever, more aware of the importance of hugs and meaningful conversations with friends and loved ones.
The research also showed that more than half of the participants were affected financially. This has created a more price sensitive consumer with a focus on ‘on sale’ items. It has also changed the retail landscape with a huge increase in online shopping – Checkers 60sixty is possibly the best example to support this change in shopping behaviour.
Generally, there has been a higher government satisfaction across the board. Vaccine competency is a key driver in these ratings. Where South Africa is concerned, 44% of respondents are unsatisfied with how the vaccine roll out is being managed.
Vaccination is an interesting topic of discussion/debate as there are high levels of hesitancy worldwide – mostly amongst the 18 to 24-year-old groups. In general, the reason for hesitancy includes fear, distrust and misinformation, with social media being the main contributors – fortunately they have reigned this in.
They have found that although people are feeling more comfortable to return back to ‘normal’ when compared to the previous study, there is still some trepidation. Everyone’s normal is different. We have all established new habits and routines which have changed our way of life and will be with us long term.
We see this across many categories we work with, for instance, the growth of the ‘natural’ look in the beauty category is a huge trend (growing out your greys and wearing no make-up) which has impacted business significantly. The fact that we are not socialising as much has meant that cosmetics consumption has decreased. Day-to-day lipstick application has also been impacted by mask wearing, this is but one category, where products have had to adapt to the change in consumer behaviour.
Consumers are looking for products, messages and experiences that resonate with what they have had to adapted to, what they care for and the environment they live in.
Until the new normal is replaced, we will be waiting, waiting for the world to change.
Maggie Pronto is a business unit manager at The MediaShop.
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