3.31 The Pulse Of Covid-19: The Trends Of The Past Week

As we close March with sober notes and silver linings, we could never have imagined such a force of disruption entering our lives, our businesses, and giving the whole nation pause. Americans continue to feel the overwhelm and stress as 56% are worried about losing their jobs and 46% think the stimulus package for individuals and families was not enough support.

Yet at the same time, we are starting to see a shift out of paralysis into remarkable action – business leaders are stepping up, business models are pivoting overnight, consumers are starting to mend their mental and physical wellbeing, and overall we are coming together as a community to help those in need most. 

With that in mind, let’s look into what’s emerging in the market and how companies are (re)acting as a source of information, insight, inspiration, and maybe even a point of levity.

This week we’ve woven Harris’ latest data throughout the trends, highlighted in bold. 

Survivalist Companies: We’ve been following companies that have stepped up to bridge the leadership gaps over the past month, but there has been a greater shift in the American psyche as COVID-19 persists. Americans expect more from private leaders and will remember the companies that took action, sent resources to the front line, and did the right thing. In these intense times, consumers are looking for signs of hope from CEOs and companies that have their back (a.k.a. not sales emails). In fact, 34% of Americans say marketers should “only advertise if they have taken action to address COVID19,” while 41% are more open to messaging and say “COVID-19 advertising is a good thing regardless of actions companies have taken, it shows they care.”

Overnight Transformers: Ask for forgiveness later” never has been more true as companies scramble to reimagine their business models, pivot overnight, and keep their lights on. We see small businesses especially making nimble moves in our latest SBO report: 19% have moved online, 15% have changed their product offering to keep revenue coming, and 10% have changed their product offering to address pandemic-related shortages.

Love In The Age Of Corona: While half of young Americans likely went into social distancing without a romantic partner, the rest of Americans with a partner are cozying up and/or trying to not to kill each other. Love in a lock-down has had interesting implications on how we find, react, receive, and celebrate relationships. Almost half of Americans (47%) report virtually connecting with friends and family this week, up 8% from last week, while 57% of young Americans (18-34 yrs old) are doing it.

  • Drones for dating? A love story between two 20-somethings that went viral, from dancing on roofs, to exchanging numbers via drone, to finally meeting each other in a giant inflatable ball.
  • When reality TV becomes our actual reality: “Love is Quarantine” is a “Love is Blind” parody that matches self-isolated singles amid the coronavirus wave. Singles everywhere are getting more creative with their pick up lines: for example, the classic: “I’m just a girl, standing 6 feet away from a boy. Asking him to maybe move back another foot. Thanks,” or this comedian who is self-quarantining with a mannequin, documenting their romantic adventures, from Sunday brunch to couples yoga. Meanwhile, The Cut explores Virtual Sext bunkers and highlights that dating app Hinge found that 70 percent of its members would be happy to start digitally dating.
  • New crushes are also emerging: ‘My Boyfriend Andrew Cuomo…’highlights our love for people who lead in times of crisis. In fact, 48% of Americans rely on their governors for information on COVID-19 (4% weekly increase), beating out the president at 45% (3% weekly drop).
  • Meanwhile, making up for lost time on the frontline, a nurse in China requests that the government assign her a boyfriend after she helped fight corona. The Washington Post weighs the possibilities of what will happen to couples across America post-quarantine, will it be a baby boom or a divorce tsunami? In China the divorce rates spiked after the quarantines were over.

Wanderlust @ Home: The travel industry works to teleport their values of escape, adventure, and relaxation to Americans who feel trapped indoors via virtual staycations. In fact, once the lock-down is over roughly 1 in 4 (24%) Americans say “going on vacation” will be the first major purchase they will make, surpassing buying new clothes (19%), household goods (17%), and attending live sports/concert events (12%).

The Age of Consciousness: Is this a tipping point for the time and space Americans will use to finally pick up meditation practices? According to our latest poll, 25% of Americans are using Wellness apps (e.g., Meditation, fitness apps) more since the outbreak, including 36% of parents.

Fitter Or Fatter?: Wellness has been the largest macro-trend we’ve seen in the past 5 years creating a $4.2 trillion global industry impacting most consumer verticals. Now with all this new found time, physicians wonder if this will be the tipping point we needed to set and keep healthy habits. According to our latest poll, nearly 41% of Americans are going for daily walks (+5% weekly increase) and 54% of Americans say they break the stay-inside rules for daily exercise (+6% weekly increase). 

Cabin Fever Fuels Consumption & Creativity: Americans are doubling down on their screen time, diving in deeper, and even reading more. According to our latest poll, Americans have reported increasing the amount of time watching TV (57%), on their smartphones (56%), streaming TV (50%), reading books (35%), and reading magazines (19%). For parents, these numbers increase significantly for smartphones (67%), streaming TV (63%), and books (44%). Many are also tapping into pent-up creativity to create and share content of their own

Humanity Surges Together To Support The Frontline & Each Other: This invisible enemy (as horrible as it is), is showing the strengths of humanity coming together. In fact, 90% of Americans feel that the most patriotic thing we can do for our country right now is to make a national sacrifice to stay home for the welfare of others. While, 4 in 10 say they will donate some of their stimulus economic relief to hospitals and around a quarter of Americans have helped an at-risk friend or neighbor with errands (23%), a 4 point increase from last week. And it’s important to keep the good news in mind, as we all fall prey to ‘Negativity Bias’, so here are some stories to get you started:

One final meme reflecting the nations mood

 That’s it for now. Till next week.