Just over 50% of all Americans believe the COVID-19 pandemic will be over by mid-June, according to the Dynata Global Trends Report. Globally, over 95% of people can’t imagine the virus extending over a year.

 While the timeline remains uncertain, brands are finding creative ways to tailor their services and products to coincide with the current needs of consumers and we are seeing new consumer trends and reactions based on developments over the last week.

ECONOMIC OUTLOOK

America’s economic outlook continued to decline this week, but not as drastically as the week of March 20, which remains the worst week for consumer confidence in the past two years. According to technology and media company, Morning Consult, the two primary economic stories this week, relevant to U.S. consumers, were the fiscal stimulus package and the number of initial claims for unemployment insurance.

Almost 90% of Americans surveyed now think COVID-19 poses a major threat to the U.S. economy. 65% worry the pandemic will cause a national recession or depression, with nearly 17% anticipating a depression. Stats on confidence in the long-term health of Americans continues to be bleak. Less than two weeks ago, 47% said the pandemic was a major threat to our national collective health, according to Pew Research Center. Today, that number has jumped to 66%.

Although consumer fears over their financial futures remain, people are even more concerned about public health, according to the latest Morning Consult data.

Nearly 75% of people surveyed say it’s more important for the government to address the spread of COVID-19 right now than the state of the economy.

INFORMATION SOURCES

People are getting information about the pandemic primarily from the government, television and social media (including news outlets using social media), according to the Dynata Global Trends Report.

THE COVID-19 SEARCH IS ON

COVID-19 related searches are now the most popular searches on Google. In response, Google has released the Google Trends Coronavirus Hub to help track these searches. These trends are proving useful to businesses and organizations looking to connect with consumers.

LOCAL NEWS SEES NEW AUDIENCE

The media ratings company, Nielsen, notes a significant increase in local news viewership in areas most affected by the pandemic.

This new audience brings with it an opportunity for brands to reach new viewers during parts of the day that they would not traditionally be able to do so. It also gives TV stations the chance to offer new programming tailored to this age group.

On the national level, Fox News Channel (FNC) has just closed out its most-watched quarter in network history in both total day and prime time slots. In total day time slots, FNC averaged 1.9 million viewers, and in prime time the network averaged 3.4 million viewers for the first quarter of 2020.

STREAMING ON THE RISE

Just 13% of U.S. adults are continuing to socialize in public places, down from 20% in a March 17-20 Morning Consult survey. To try and salvage lost revenues from movie theaters closing their doors, studios are making their new and current releases available for rent or purchase on streaming services. Consumers say they are watching more content because of the pandemic even though the price point on these releases can be up to three times more than what people would like to spend.

  • Of those surveyed, 53% said they would prefer to watch a newly released film via streaming at home.
  • Two-thirds of adults said they are watching streaming more due to the health pandemic.
  • This week, 30% of respondents said they expected to spend more on streaming services because of the pandemic, up from 19% a week ago.
  • Over 65% said they are less likely to cancel their cable or satellite subscription because of the pandemic.
  • Of those who subscribed to a streaming service since Jan. 1, 38% said the Coronavirus was a factor in doing so.

PEOPLE ARE LISTENING

Today, 18% of U.S. adults are listening to podcasts more than they did before they started social distancing, according to a March 24-26 poll conducted by Morning Consult. The results also showed the increase based on age groups:

  • Ages 18-22 saw the biggest increase with 31% listening more
  • Ages 23-38 saw a 26% increase
  • Ages 39-54 saw a 16% increase

BRANDS ARE THE MORAL COMPASS

According to an Edelman Trust Barometer special report released on March 31, consumers are expecting brands to help during the Coronavirus pandemic, even to the point of losing money. Survey results show that:

ADVERTISING IMPACT

Almost 75% of brand decision-makers think the COVID-19 pandemic will have a greater impact on U.S. advertising spend than the 2008-09 financial crisis. Nearly 25% have paused all advertising spending for the remainder of Q1 & Q2.

From March-June:

  • Digital ad spend is down 33%
  • Traditional media is down 39%
  • The majority (63%) of advertisers are adjusting their messaging and are increasing:
    • Mission-based marketing (+42%)
    • Cause-related marketing (+41%)

The Ehrhardt Group will continue to share the latest research relevant to businesses and organizations as it becomes available. If you see something that interests you, feel free to share it. 

Have questions or comments for TegPR’s research and marketing team, contact us at info@tegpr.com.