Mood is 'ok' but the future is uncertain.
Overall, mood is OK, 'average' across markets. There are a number of people who are positive and trying to enjoy the calmer lifestyle and time spent with their families. On the other hand, there are rising concerns about the situation developing in the longer run, and some people are worried about a second wave of infections once restrictions are lifted. The majority of people though are tired of this situation. Government influence on mood and attitudes.
Political decisions, the way they are communicated as well as the consistency of this communication may impact on consumer attitudes and mood in general. It may also have an impact on consumer confidence over the next few months. People support government actions pretty strongly, however, people are generally tired and their mood is not too optimistic. A global recession and personal financial situation are amongst the major concerns across all markets. Russians and Italians have seen the biggest fall in support for their government and drop in confidence in their government since the end of March (see Consumer behaviour in times of uncertainty
). Government actions are critical in maintaining some kind of consumer confidence. Based on the comments from the 5 markets that we researched, it won’t take long until people start challenging the government decisions, especially if they are inconsistent and if communication and the rationale around them is not clear. What are they missing the most during the lockdown?
Personal connections with friends and family is the most missed activity in all 5 countries. People also miss going out, especially to cafes, bars and restaurants (apart from Russia where going out is generally centred around big cities), travelling, especially for Americans, and going shopping for things other than groceries. Are there any positive effects of the lockdown?
Yes, there are a few. Common themes across all 5 countries: more precious time spent with family and loved ones, tranquillity and opportunity to calm down and reflect, DIY and sorting out the house, saving money and a positive impact on the environment. Which measures should be relaxed first?
Even though the time they spend with their families is considered to be precious, many parents struggle to have kids at home at all times. Therefore schools, nurseries, playgrounds and children’s activity centres are called on to be the first to re-open. Next come cafes, bars and restaurants along with non-grocery shops and shopping malls, as well as being able to travel, especially within a country. So good news for HoReCa (hospitality industry) and the retail industry if they are to be considered for re-opening soon.
Reopening gyms and accommodation holding major events, and easing international travel restrictions were considered to be lower priorities. High concern around getting infected plus fear of the second or the third wave of the virus indicate that it might take time for people to come back 'to normal'. Plans for the future.
Well, humans are humans, and they still make plans for the future. Holidays are something people still try to plan (or at least have in mind) once the lockdown is over. People are also looking forward to attending family celebrations, weddings, anniversaries. Quite a few people are or will be looking for a job, although the level varies by market. In Russia and the US where financial support from the government is either poor or almost non-existent, about ⅓ are looking at paying debts and loans after the lockdown. Life will never be the same! Or will it?
So, will we ever come back to normal? If you remember mad cow disease in 1995 when Brits swore never to eat beef again. Sales of beef took a very deep dive, however in a few years it was nothing but a blip on the chart. So maybe, but not in the short term—probably not within 3−6 months.
People are generally tired of the situation and are getting ready for the economic crisis and the upcoming pressing necessity of dealing with financial difficulties. Consistency of communication regarding the virus, genuine understanding and sympathy backed by tangible actions, providing support for people and the community is what is required from the governments, as well as from the companies taking care of their employees.