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

How are you? Are you grieving? Most of us are, grief experts call it anticipatory grieving– the unknown loss of tomorrow, our old lives, human touch, our health, our financial wellbeing, etc. We’ve lost our collective sense of safety and security on a global level, and it will have long-term implications on our society in the future. At the same time, humanity is showing an incredible amount of resilience and creativity, finding new ways to live in this new normal, from WWII vets dancing to Justin Timberlake, to virtual proms, to meeting new grandchildren through glass windows

In New York, there is a heaviness that is unavoidable, it’s in the air, weighing down on our lives and wellbeing. This week, it’s particularly challenging to find the silver linings amid the mass loss of lives, but this also is the fundamental opportunity of leadership. 

With that in mind, let’s look into what’s emerging in the market and how companies, individuals, animals, and communities are leading into the unknown as a source of information, insight, inspiration, and maybe even a point of levity.

Harris’ latest data throughout the trends are highlighted in bold

Action Hero Companies & Leadership: It’s all hands-on deck and Americans expect companies to pull out all the stops to help seize and control this pandemic. All Americans want companies to take action to help fight the current pandemic, saying the following have most potential to improve their opinion: donating money, supplies or time (92%), allowing customers to forgo payments for up to 6 months (91%), shifting production to create supplies needed to fight the pandemic (91%), and having executive forgo salaries or other compensation (84%).

Sanitary & Sanity Start-Ups: Delivering what the world wants most right now, start-ups and businesses are ideating and crowdsourcing new ideas that meet consumers’ needs for sanitation and sanity.  

  • We took a look at where consumers are directing their discretionary income on Kickstarter to get an understanding of where this trend could be headed. For example, Hygiene Hand, an antimicrobial brass door opener started with a fundraising goal of $5K has been funded by over 6,000 people, making over $300K+. Rev™, self-cleaning pure silver socks, had a fundraising goal of $5K, and has already raised $60K. Lumio, a UV self-cleaning toothbrush that zaps germs with UV light, asked for $11.5K, and received $73K in support. Meanwhile, PICO, a concept that allows you to garden inside with telescopic LED grow lights and a self-watering system, asked for $10K, and bloomed into over $145K of support. Lastly, consumers are looking to find sanity and escape in a globetrotting board game, Trekking the World, which asked for $32K, and people have pledged more than $190K.
  • As demand for mental health help soars, SonderMind raises $27 million to expand its servicesThe World Health Organization in Africa is holding virtual hackathons and offering up to $20,000 in seed-funds to finalists with digital solutions to stem COVID-19.
  • Masks, masks, and masks: From DIY social media posts, to fashion brand donations, to new small business opportunities, masks will become 2020’s must-have accessory. And now the CDC shows you how to make a face mask in 45 seconds, along with Kate Hudson.

The New Normal: Repackaging our collective experiences, we are slowly emerging from the shock of the lockdown and starting to wrestle with the pieces of how life moves on from here, what does it look like and what will change?

  • A WFH tipping point: While we know it’s hard for some, most companies and employees are seeing the upside from working from home. 62% of Americans say they have been working from home since the coronavirus pandemic. A Harris Poll with GlassDoor shows that 67% of Americans were in favor of working remotely indefinitely, if their companies made such a policy mandatory. And that 60% of employees said they were confident they can efficiently do their job remotely if their companies instituted mandatory work-from-home standards. According to Gartner, 74% of CFOs want to move (at least some of their workforce) home permanently. And if you need inspiration, there are at least 100 ‘Work From Home’ playlists now on Spotify to keep you going.
  • Will we wonder why we ever waited in the doctor’s office? FCC funded a $200M telehealth initiative to help medical providers offer remote care, while Forward launched ‘Forward At Home’ COVID-19 primary care service, sending users an at-home-kit with an EKG, connected thermometer, connected blood pressure cuff, and a pulse oximeter to upload vitals for virtual appointments.
  • Reimagining dinner parties and wine tasting: An Austin catering shop is now offering virtual dinner parties where they’ll deliver dinner for two and facilitate a virtual meal with others, while Brooklyn Winery is offering virtual wine tasting with the winemakers.
  • Upskilling and side hustling: 53% of Young Americans (18-34 yrs old) have sought additional sources of income as a result of the current pandemic (38% of Americans overall). Many Americans are rethinking about how to secure their financial wellbeing in the future and e-learning is playing a pivotal role in that search, right now there are over 450 free courses offered by Ivy League colleges to learn something new, and even Audible is giving away free audiobooks to children and teens stuck at home. Out of this crisis, we might see an emergence of a more empowered self-directed learner, who is skilled, prepared and questioning the point of student loan debt.
  • New signals and signs of the times: Twitter verifies experts on COVID-19 to stop spreading false news. We see a new set of emojis roll out to adapt to the times, from elbow bumps, to empty toilet paper rolls, to ‘closed’ signs.

Cope-A-Chilla: Craving the life we once had, people are getting creative, wacky and weird with their coping mechanisms. 54% of Americans report feeling cabin fever, including 65% of 18-34 year olds. Yet, they are still grateful for the time off, 59% of 18-34 year olds say they feel grateful for ‘the break from work to be at home with my family or by myself’ (49% of Americans overall). As a society, we are finding new outlets for our energy highs and lows, so we can do our part by staying at home.

Bridging Digital Divide: We cannot mention all these new normals and coping methods without fundamentally addressing the elephant in the room: broadband and mobile access. Many Americans are being left out of this evolving normal, which, in some ways, is shedding light on the inequalities that have persisted far too long. Our research with the 4-H Youth Council and Microsoft shows that youth with unreliable broadband access are less confident about graduating, finding a job, and financial success. 

Animals Unleashed: When people go away, the animals will play. As this lockdown literally changes the way the earth moves, animals are finding new opportunities to provide levity and entertainment for their stressed human counterparts.

Celebrations & Gathering Rewired: We are hitting a popular time of religious, family, and coming-of-age celebrations in the U.S. and around the world, and people are getting resourceful to find new ways to celebrate together. In recent Harris data, we see that the top 3 things Americans miss most are dining out at restaurants/bars (51%), gathering with friends and family (49%), and shopping in stores (39%), all of which are traditionally a big part of celebratory moments. Last year, for example, last year NRF reported those celebrating Easter spent an average of $151 per person, and about 8 in 10 U.S. adults participated.

Building The Roots Of Fandom: Entertainment industries and streaming services are seeing this time as an opportunity to introduce and build lifelong fans, as they have the most captive audience that has ever existed. More than half of Americans say their time watching streaming services has increased as a result of coronavirus (53%), and, since March, many Americans have signed up for streaming services, including Netflix (30%), Amazon Prime Video (23%), Hulu (21%), Disney+ (20%), YouTube TV (18%), HBO Now (13%), AppleTV+ (11%), CBS AllAccess (11%), ESPN+ (11%), and SlingTV (10%).

500 ft of Optimism: Global outlooks are looking up as we come together to fight and overcome the current pandemic.

Image from top of the page is from a NYTimes series: ‘Dear Customers’: These Are the Emotional Store Signs of a Closed New York

That’s it for now. Till next week.