Medical knowledge and trust

Dynata polled 15,134 respondents from 14 countries to learn about consumers’ medical knowledge and trust. Three quarters of respondents from China and Italy agreed that they knew everything they needed to know about how to protect themselves from COVID-19. The U.S. was the least well-informed, followed by Australia. Understandably, China, Italy and Spain had the most respondents who answered that they would know exactly what to do if they had symptoms. Younger people tended to not be as well-informed, with six in 10 respondents aged 16-24 agreeing that they understood what sort of illness COVID-19 would be – compared to three-quarters of those over 55.

Official COVID-19 information from governments is being received by just over half of respondents, with the highest rates in Singapore (67%), Ireland (65%), India (62%) and Italy (61%). Fewer than one in five Japanese respondents said they were getting government information and just over four in 10 Americans mentioned government information. TV is the most popular source for getting this information, with at least three-quarters of respondents in every country mentioning this as a source for news. Social media was a popular information source for China (79%), India (77%) and Singapore (70%), but not as much in France (32%), the U.K. (38%) and Japan (40%). Government was trusted most, above TV and social media. In Singapore, India, Ireland, Germany and the Netherlands, government information was trusted by more than two-thirds of those who had received it. On the other hand, in the U.S., Spain, and the U.K., only four in 10 trust “a lot” or “totally” what they see from government. Read more.

Leadership communication

Orangefiery surveyed 454 respondents in the U.S. to understand how communication within businesses has been affected by the coronavirus. Most (82%) of respondents said that their organizations have been delivering on-topic communications using the right communications channels (85%) with an appropriate frequency (79%). Asked to rate the effectiveness of the communications they’ve received, smaller majorities said the communications were "very" or "extremely" trustworthy (66%), appropriate in tone (66%), clear (64%) and honest and open (63%). Fewer respondents (55%) said they were very or extremely satisfied with the messages they were receiving, with 11% saying they were not very or not at all satisfied, and only 53% said the messages were very or extremely useful in communicating what employees should think or do.

When asked what they want to see more of from future communications, the top responses were: transparency about what the organization knows and doesn’t know (32%); more information about resources for emotional and mental health, including dealing with stress and anxiety (25%); stronger acknowledgement of the difficulty of the situation (23%); more frequent communications (22%); more clarity in communications (22%); more direct acknowledgement of misinformation and/or rumors (22%); and more information about sick days, personal days and other benefits to deal with sick family members, children at home, etc. (21%).

The research was conducted March 25-29, 2020. Read more.

Consumer attention on local government, businesses 

Horowitz Research surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults over the age of 18 to better understand consumer sentiment during the COVID-19 crisis. The survey looked at state and local government perceptions, with six in 10 (59%) Americans having a positive perception of how their local/state governments have handled the crisis to date, compared to 44% who feel positively about the federal government’s handling. When considering President Trump’s leadership during the crisis, 40% of Americans have negative perceptions and 43% have positive ones. 

In addition to government, the survey looked at American’s perceptions of businesses during the crisis. Almost nine in 10 (86%) feel that COVID-19 is going to have an impact on local businesses – and just as many say COVID-19 will have an impact on the U.S. and global economies. One in four respondents say they have already made an effort to support local businesses and over half say they are likely to do so to make sure those businesses stay afloat. 

The research was conducted on March 25-27, 2019. Read more. 

Small businesses face growing challenges 

Seventy-nine percent of small businesses are “extremely concerned” about the current business environment in light of the COIVD-19 outbreak, according to a study of small businesses by Thryv and America’s Small Business Development Centers. The national survey reports that three-quarters of U.S. small businesses have already experienced a large drop in demand due to the coronavirus pandemic, and an equal amount say they have or will be reducing employee hours.

The study found that three of four respondents were temporarily closed for business. Looking out one year from now, 36% said they felt that they would completely recover, while 3% do not believe they will survive. In addition, 45% of small businesses indicate they will apply for a loan. 

The research was conducted on March 27-29, 2020, and was a follow-up to wave one of the study conducted the prior week. Read more. 

Day-to-day consumer activities 

A recent study by Brand Keys surveyed consumers to see how daily and generally routine activities have been upended. The survey found that 78% of the 18 daily activities surveyed showed significant increases in consumer participation due to the coronavirus and social, economic and global disruption. The activities consumers indicated having higher levels of participation include working from home (+30%), online activities (excluding shopping) (+26%), watching movies (+23%), watching news shows (+19%), shopping online (+17%) and texting (+16%). 

The research was conducted the week of March 30, 2020. 

Impact of COVID-19 on global consumers

Borderless access has released a report observing the impact of COVID-19 on global consumer behavior. The study includes nine countries – Germany, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, UAE, U.S. and the U.K. – with a sample size of 4,773 (ages 18+). Unsurprisingly, respondents are changing hygiene-related behavior, with 84% of people globally washing hands more often. In addition, 76% are avoiding social gatherings, 69% are avoiding engaging with strangers, 54% are avoiding shops/markets where possible and 26% are ordering online for groceries/vegetables/fruits. 

Fifty-four percent of respondents reported being highly concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on their country’s economy. Overall, most people believe that COVID-19 will impact both their personal and professional lives, with 48% saying it will have an impact on work/career plans. Only a fifth of global respondents feel that it will have no impact on their own work and productivity. This sentiment is mostly seen in developed markets. UAE and Saudi Arabia respondents are the most likely to say their productivity/work output has been negatively impacted, with only 14% reporting no impact. 

The research was conducted in March, 2020. Read more. 

Online shopping a “necessity” 

The majority of shoppers will either not shop in-store at all or will only do so if “absolutely necessary” according to a study of nearly 1,200 U.S. consumers ages 18+ conducted by Retail Systems Research. Ninety percent of shoppers are hesitant to shop in-store due to the coronavirus, and 94% stated online shopping will be an important activity for them during the crisis. In addition, 45% said online shopping will be a “necessity” for them to live their daily lives during the crisis. 

Only 42% of respondents felt confident that Amazon could get their online orders delivered on time. The top three things respondents felt would make shopping online more difficult during the crisis are: unavailable inventory, no free shipping option and slow websites. 

The research was conducted in March, 2020. Read more. 

Media consumption increases

A majority (58%) of consumers say they are searching for coronavirus updates on the internet, making it the biggest online activity according to a GlobalWebIndex study of 2,218 U.S. and 1,726 U.K. internet users ages 16-to-64. The coronavirus is dominating consumers’ online content consumption across markets, income groups and generations – with the exception of Generation Z. Forty-nine percent of U.S. and 39% of U.K. consumers are reading more news stories on social media as a result of the outbreak. Across all demographics, Facebook is the most used platform for viewing up-to-date news about the coronavirus. 

Many consumers – 87% in the U.S. and 80% in the U.K – are consuming more content overall. Aside from content surrounding the coronavirus, consumers are viewing a variety of entertaining content online, such as listening to music (58%), watching movies/shows (49%), watching funny videos (42%), playing games on mobile devices (40%) and looking at memes (32%). 

The appetite for in-home entertainment is also strong, with around 40% of U.K. and U.S. consumers considering purchasing new media subscriptions to pass the time. Higher income groups are more likely to consider a Disney+ subscription, but overall Netflix boasts the highest rate of those considering purchasing a subscription (18%). 

The research was conducted in March, 2020. Read more. 

New priorities

Research from Acupoll looks into consumer attitudes relating to COVID-19. The way in which consumers ranked their priorities when looking for products to buy remained relatively level across the three waves of the study, with health/well-being remaining the top priority. Taking good care of their families rose from third (46%) on March 18 to second (53%) on March 31, with saving money becoming the third-most important priority by March 31 (49%).

Most (80%) expect their priorities will shift as a result of this crisis, but the ways in which they view this shift differ, with about half viewing this as an opportunity to reset and accomplish goals and the other half planning to be more prepared in the future due to uncertainty or losing a job. Thirty-one percent of respondents cited appreciating things they’d taken for granted as a new priority they might have, while other priorities included maintaining social distancing and hand washing (19%), preparing for another emergency (14%), recovering from job or financial loss (12%), accomplishing goals (5%) and getting healthier (4%).

The research was conducted March 18 – April 1, 2020. Read more.

Americans turn to uplifting YouTube videos  

Technology platform Channel Factory conducted a survey that reveals people are flocking to YouTube for uplifting and mood-enhancing content during the coronavirus pandemic. The survey asked more than 1,000 U.S. consumers to share their YouTube activity in the recent weeks. While 33% of respondents reported going to YouTube for COVID-19-specific content, 48% are watching entertainment videos and music-related content; 33% are consuming comedy; 31% are looking at DIY videos; and 29% are viewing cooking-related content. 

When asked about YouTube advertising, over 70% of respondents said they want ads that both boost and align with their mood; and 29% expect ads to be relevant to the content they are watching. 

The research was published on April 2. Read more. 

Government and community support

Toluna, Harris Interactive and KuRunData polled consumers in 18 markets on the effects the coronavirus has had on their daily lives. On average, respondents viewed the government of their home country as more supportive than governments of other countries. Japan and France viewed their governments as especially unsupportive, with 89% and 82%, respectively, reporting that they did not feel supported by their own country’s government. Respondents from these countries also felt the least supported by their employers and local community. In China and Malaysia, 78% of respondents reported feeling extremely supported by their countries’ governments, but respondents in both countries were split on the supportiveness of employers (41% and 52%, respectively). On average, respondents from India felt the most supported by their government (77%), employers (59%) and local community (62%), and they were more likely to view governments of other countries as extremely supportive (59%).

The study was conducted March 25 – April 3, 2020. Read more.

Decrease in report of virus-like symptoms 

The third wave of a daily national survey of U.S. adults, conducted by Reconnect Research, shows 4% of residents are reporting that they are experiencing symptoms that may be related to the coronavirus. Slightly more than one third of them (37%) reportedly have contacted a medical professional about their symptoms, and 0.7% of those interviewed report that they have been told they have, or had, the virus. This is a decrease in reported virus-like symptoms, as compared to prior wave findings. 

The survey also looks at the political party affiliation as related to various public reactions regarding the coronavirus. According to the survey, 60.2% of respondents approve and 39.8% disapprove of the federal government’s handling of the virus outbreak. Republicans were most likely to approve (77%).   

The research was conducted from March 27 through April 3. Read more. 

Marketing researcher attitudes

A study by NewMR polled 1,014 marketing research and insights professionals to learn how the current pandemic is affecting them. On a one-to-five scale represented by sad and happy faces, nearly half of participants picked one of the happy face options to describe how they felt. However, about one in six chose one of the sad face options. Those who chose the sad face to describe how they felt were largely people who were not working, not employed or for whom working at home was not suitable. With most people now working from home, the 20% of people who don’t feel suited to work at home might need more support. For the most part, people are keeping busy, with 27% of respondents saying they had quite a lot of spare time, while 39% reported they had “some” and another 30% said they didn’t have much. 

On average, people expected the disruption to everyday life to last for five months, with two-thirds estimating that it would last between three and six months. Fewer than 3% said they thought the disruption would last for a year or more. People who think that the disruption will last more than six months are also more likely to choose the sad face to describe how they are feeling. 

The research was conducted March 29 – April 3, 2020. Read more.

Consumers avoid crowds, cut back on socializing 

Seventy-one percent of consumers reported feeling they will need to continue to avoid crowds and close schools and businesses for two months or longer, according to a survey of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted by ENGINE Insights. This is part of an ongoing research study, consisting of four published phases to date. In each phase, participants are asked a variety of questions identifying trends around behavior changes and the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Consumers are increasingly changing behaviors in response to the coronavirus. While 56% reported having stopped shaking hands in the first phase of this study (March 13-15), the number jumped to 88% in the most recent phase (April 3-5). Other reported behaviors are seeing similar increases, including avoiding public transportation (from 56% to 81%), cutting back on eating in restaurants (from 42% to 89%) and cutting back on socializing (from 41% to 86%). 

During the first phase of research (March 13-15), 13% of Americans knew someone who has been quarantined with, exposed to or diagnosed with COVID-19. This number increased to 45% in the most recent phase (April 3-5). 

The research was conducted March 13-15, March 20-22, March 27-29 and April 3-5, 2020. Read more. 

U.K. concern and the coronavirus 

Savanta’s tracker study, which follows 1,000 U.K. respondents each day, looks at the levels of concern about the coronavirus in the U.K., along with its impact on several topics. Worry about COVID-19 remains high, with 35% of respondents saying that they feel very worried and 19% saying they feel the most worried ever on April 7. 

Out-of-home activities have fluctuated but in general are decreasing. Respondents reporting visiting friends/family (either home or out) decreased by 18 points between March 18 and April 7. Only 14% of respondents reported leaving the house to visit a shop other than the supermarket on April 7, compared to 32% on March 18. 

The number of respondents reporting that they are mostly/entirely following government advice has seen a 27-point increase between March 18 and April 7.

The research was conducted from March 18 to April 8. Read more. 

Changing shopping habits

A recent study from ProdegeMR looks at what consumers expect to spend more money on in the next couple of months. Groceries were at the top of this list, with 42% of respondents reporting that they are likely to spend more on this category. Toiletries and personal care items came in second at 31%, followed by health and wellness items (25%), home food delivery (23%) and pet food and supplies (17%). Items that qualify as “very important” items to stock up on over the next couple of months vary somewhat by gender, with 63% of women listing canned food and pantry items as compared to 50% of men, along with toiletries and personal care items (55% to 47%) and cleaning supplies (51% to 44%). Women also prioritized pet food and supplies (51%) and over-the-counter medications (49%), while men prioritized meat and meat substitutes (47%) and beverages (44%). Read more.

Consumers find some positives

In a recent survey, DRG asked consumers what positives they are taking from the current situation. A majority, (61%) of respondents said they see an appreciation for the little things as a positive coming out of the pandemic, while some cited a greater sense of community (53%), adoption of remote work (36%) and a more environmentally friendly way of living (33%) and working (33%). Four in 10 respondents say they’ve been tackling their pile of unread books, while the same amount say they are getting outside for fresh air and exercise. Another 32% report gardening and/or growing produce, as well as DIY projects (21%). About half (48%) of respondents have binge-watched TV series or films during social distancing, while 14% have listened to podcasts. Read more.

View Part 1 of Quirk's COVID-19: Survey Monitor series.