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

What’s giving you hope right now? This is one of the 20 new greetings author Warren Berger says we should consider instead of ‘how are you?’ in these intense times. So what’s giving us hope: the idea that ‘acts of kindness’ went from a luxury to a state of necessity. Two months ago ‘surprise and delight’ was just a marketing tactic and now it’s a bloodline for society. And while the media doesn’t have the time or manpower to focus on all of it, there are thousands of acts of kindness happening daily pulling humanity closer together. In this time of despair, leaders of all kinds are getting out of the drama of their own lives and building the collective resilience in each other.

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

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

Leading For The Long-Term: Leaders are stepping up and trying to slowly piece together the fragmented American psyche with ‘safety and security’ signals, policies and commitments that help Americans reimagine a world where they can safely emerge and plan for their future again. 88% of Americans say they have higher perceptions of companies that are donating money, supplies or employee’s time to aid relief in communities.

Retail Rearranged: Non-essential retail, for the most part, is being put on hold, as government and policies prioritize essential items, supply chains, and social distancing. Despite retailers boarding up their windows, it’s one of the top things consumers want to get back to, in fact, 67% of consumers say they miss shopping in stores since Covid-19 shutdowns. Additionally, Americans believe retailers should be granted some financial relief, with 76% of Americans saying that large national retailers should be allowed to postpone rent payments if they cannot afford it due to the coronavirus, even if they remain open for business.

Social Distancing Twilight Zone: Americans anticipate a socially distant twilight zone after restrictions are lifted. A majority believe it will be more than a month from now (51%) things should start returning to work and life as normal and, even after they are, most anticipate a slow start to resuming ‘normal’ life.

  • Working It Out @ Home: The majority of Americans say they plan to continue exercising at home (85%), instead of going to the gym (15%). 
  • Hollywood Home-tainment: 79% plan to watch movies at home, in lieu of going to the theater (21%), and a similar number say they plan to stream live events at home (73%), instead of going in person (27%). 
  • DIY Groomers: 57% plan to buy their own grooming supplies, instead of going to a hairdresser post covid (43%), especially men at 61% vs. 54% of women. However, things might change as people face hair dye shortages and their virtual hair cutting lessons don’t pan out.

Creative Foodie Distancing: Americans can’t wait to go out to eat again, but they aren’t quite sure when and what it will look like. Aside from spending time with family and friends (74%), the second thing Americans miss most is eating out (70%), yet a majority say they are more likely to order take out when the economy re-opens (65%), over dining in (35%), while a similar number say they plan to continue having virtual happy hours (67%), instead of going to bars and restaurants (33%).  

Flywheel Entertainment: Harris’ insights were featured in the WSJ, With America at Home, the Streaming War Is Hollywood’s Ultimate Test,’ highlighting the increasing appetite for streaming entertainment, especially among families, but also Hollywood’s challenge to fill this increasing desire remotely. For example, parents with children at home are spending $60 a month for streaming subscriptions—well above the general population—and have 3.8 services (vs. 1.7 for households with no children). Nearly half of parents (49%) with children at home recently subscribed to Netflix in March (vs. 18% non-parents). 

500 ft of Volunteerism: “There is a lot of evidence that one of the best anti-anxiety medications available is generosity,” said Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist at Wharton, featured in a recent NYTimes piece about The Science of Helping Out.

That’s it for now. Till next week.