Maria Soroka
04 May 2020
After the lockdown: what to expect? 5 market consumer report.
Fastuna ran a short survey in five markets over the weekend (May 2−3, 2020), asking people about their mood, lives, attitudes and projects planned for after the lockdown. Here is a summary of the main findings. The full reports are available via links following individual country summaries.
Jump to country summaries:
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.

Italy is tired of the 'quarantena'. 'Sword of Damocles on our heads'
Jump to report
How is the mood?
Even with the recent loosening of restrictions, Italy is one of the countries with the longest and the strictest lockdown scenarios and Italians are tired of it. Last month, when we did our first Coronavirus related survey (See the report here: Consumer behaviour in times of uncertainty), the spirits were higher, people were prepared to stick together to fight the pandemic with 'hope' coming through as an underlying sentiment in open ended answers. Now they are just looking forward to the end of it all and using language which indicates a more negative sentiment. It is a dramatic event that has destabilized our country. It will be difficult to resume life as usual without having constant worries Female, 30

The majority reported that the Coronavirus situation has had a big impact on their lives and they can’t wait until the restrictions are over.

Financial difficulty and recession:
Due to the long and strict lockdown, many Italians found themselves in quite a tough financial situation. There are many concerns about their personal future as well as the future of their country where the economy relies heavily on small businesses.
The coronavirus has upset everyone’s life, suddenly we found ourselves locked in the house frightened by the feeling of being at the mercy of fate, worried more than for ourselves for our most fragile family members. which in general I have very little esteem) to make a qualitative leap and to begin to play its institutional role for the good of all and not as it has been until now only its own lobby. But it will not happen … unfortunately even with 30,000 dead they started again as before. We could be the richest country in Europe and instead … we are the last Male, 56

I hope that soon a cure will be found, the better a vaccine would be, to be able to really return to live peacefully, otherwise we will always have this sword of Damocles on our heads, now economically difficult months await us, all the people who have restaurants, pizzerias, hotels, the sector of the tourism is a tragedy for them Female, 47

What are people missing the most during lockdown?
As in other countries, seeing friends and other family members is what Italians missed the most. Also, they were missing going out to bars, cafes and restaurants, traveling and shopping.

Measures to be relaxed:
The re-opening of cafes, bars, restaurants are top of the list for Italians in terms of activities which should be prioritised. And this is no surprise as HoReCa (Hospitality and restaurant industry) is one of the core elements of Italian DNA in terms of both culture and economy.

A large part of the Italian population lives in flats so being stuck inside for 2 months with children makes the opening of playgrounds a pressing issue. Followed by loosening restrictions on travel and non-food shopping.

Positive effects of lockdown:
What were the positive effects of the Coronavirus crisis for Italians? Like for everyone else bonding with family was a notable positive effect from an otherwise dire situation. Being able to slow down the rhythm of life and save money were also the positive sides of the coin.

Plans for the future:
Taking a holiday is the number one plan amongst italians. ¼ aren't making any plans, although they are definitely planning more compared to the Brits. Will the situation improve within the next 3−6 months? Over a half of Italians believe so. Today is a beautiful sunny day, and in a few days, thanks to the loosening of the quarantine due to the coronavirus, you can leave the house again to visit friends and go for a walk Male, 35

In conclusion…
Italians have been hit hard by the virus and the related consequences on their lives and understandably are tired of the situation. It might take time until the country recovers financially and the nation fully heals its emotional scars. This virus brought the world to its knees, makes it clear that we had everything and we didn't appreciate it Male, 45

It was too heavy a story for the whole nation to sustain Male, 45

View the full Italy report by clicking the link below: (use right click to translate in Google Chrome. Scroll down to read what they write about the Coronavirus in their own words!)

https://fastuna.com/report/SbaSvOjsLd

Russia is used to uncertainty but hopeful.
Jump to report
How is the mood?
Russians are most tired of the restrictions (even more so than Italians) even though they have spent less time than other countries in full lockdown.

Trust in government:
Also they have the highest number of people who believe that the government measures are unnecessary because the government gave contradictory messages to their citizens. They advised people to use up their holidays to stay home without financially supporting those being furloughed and showed uncertainty in their decision making.

Financial difficulty and recession:
The danger of recession and people’s own financial instability are amongst the highest concerns for Russians. Many find the situation very uncertain, even frightening. My personal opinion is that the government wants to destroy the rights of people, under the guise of Coronavirus. People already have no money, but they are also fined. I believe that the government should sit on the minimum wage of 15−20 RUB and see how they win. from his measures. Male, 43
Will life be the same?
Unlike Germans, Russians believe that everything is going to come back to normal in the long run. However, their expectations about the coming 3−6 months are polarized, as in most other markets. They do not believe the crisis will be over that soon. The situation with coronavirus is complicated. It is unclear how we will quarantine. How to ride the subway at rush hour, observing safety precautions. How to work (I am a dentist), what protective measures, in addition to the mask, screen, we will apply, whether disposable gowns will be given out. The pension reform introduced by the government turned out to be quite inappropriate, because this pension, although small, would be of help. Therefore, so far everything is bad and very bad. Female, 54

Positive effects of lockdown:
As in other markets, Russians see some positives in the lockdown: personal benefits as getting enough sleep and rest, spending time with their family, reading and watching movies. Finally, everything is laid out at home on the shelves, a super spring cleaning was carried out. The house is clean and tidy. It has been read and revised in total so many things that it has refused many times due to lack of time. Engaged in self-education. Female, 44

What are people missing the most during lockdown?
As everywhere else, Russians miss seeing their friends and family the most. Compared to other markets Russians are less interested in travelling or going out after the lockdown (possibly due to the fact that going out is generally centred around big cities and less so in smaller towns and rural areas of Russia). More than in other countries, Russians were missing going to work/school, possibly because of the government advice to take holidays and many being furloughed as a consequence of that decision.

Measures to be relaxed:
Good news for retailers: Russians are keen on opening shops and shopping malls as their top priority, even more than opening of schools and kindergartens. Also, as others, they are looking forward to easing restrictions for travelling within the country.

Plans for the future:
Russians are indeed making plans for the future as they look forward to paying off their loans and mortgages, changing jobs, renovating houses and travelling within the country. ¼ of respondents claimed they were going to enroll in education or self-development courses. Whether or not they will be able to keep to those good intentions amidst all of the more pressing issues remains to be seen, though the intent is there.

Still, the pleasant plans seem far away as the many speculations in the comments indicate concern over the Russian economy being completely ruined after the lockdown. Many companies had to close down and people laid off. There is a clear shortage of funds to support basic needs; to revive everything we had before the Coronavirus we need colossal effort and huge sums of money Female, 44

Perhaps because of the historical heritage and high resilience to uncertainty having recently lived through multiple crises, political and economic reforms etc., the majority still believes that in the long run, all will come back to normal. I think it will end soon Male, 30

In conclusion…
Probably the least reliable government in the eyes of the people out of the 5 markets and although they are used to only being able to count on themselves the severity of the situation is sinking in for Russians. The necessity to act also acts as an enabler for some people stimulating much needed hope in a difficult situation for a long time to come.

View the full Russian report by clicking the link below: (use right click to translate in Google Chrome. Scroll down to read what they write about the Coronavirus in their own words!)

https://fastuna.com/report/xVwCvn73n7
USA. 'I am good. Am I?'
Jump to report
The most positive country about the future and in terms of how they feel right now. Is that because of the habit of positive thinking and 'being ok'? Let's dig a bit deeper.

How is the mood?
If we dig a bit deeper into the moods and worries of the American people, we can see that their feelings are polarised. I am still in disbelief. Every day I wake up and wonder if it is real. Female, 40

Some are 'good' or 'ok', but about ¼ are anxious, fearful and concerned. Possibly the country with the highest level of fear about how contagious the virus is and it's high infectiousness and death rate. I'm super scared about the corona-virus affecting my friends and family. I'm worried the government is not doing enough to keep the public safe and healthy. I worry about financial consequences. Female, 27

Financial difficulty and recession:
Also as in most of the other markets, the biggest fear after the lockdown is to live through the recession and concerns about their own financial situation. 30% plan to pay off debts and credits after the lockdown is finished I have lost so much money from both of my main streams of income coming to a near halt with no end in sight due to Covid-19. I am also going stir crazy from lack of social interaction, looking like a bum from not being able to get a haircut, hate feeling like I am playing Russian Roulette every time that I step out of my home, and constant misinformation along with poor leadership playing the political game instead of caring about the well being and lives of Americans. Male, 42

Trust in healthcare and government support:
Anxiety and concern are reflected in the fact that Americans are the least confident that their healthcare system can handle Coronavirus. Also, even though 69% of Americans support their government decisions on restrictions, they feel that they should be prolonged, that the government hasn’t taken action early enough and that people should be more responsible to keep each other safe. The American citizens are behaving like kindergarteners who are losing privileges at recess and the politicians are their teachers who are too worried about looking uncool to get the job done. Female, 21

What are people missing the most during lockdown?
The three things that they’ve been missing the most are seeing family and friends, going out to cafes and restaurants and travelling. Over 50% miss travelling and nearly a quarter support the reopening of accommodation (the highest amongst all countries). They can’t wait to live their lives fully again.

Measures to be relaxed:
This naturally leads us to the fact that the number one priority for Americans is to open restaurants and bars followed by easing up restrictions on travel and opening of the shopping malls.

I’m tired of not being able to travel or order the food I want and I want life to start going back to normal Female, 27

Positive effects of lockdown:
As in other markets there are some positives too, such as more time with families and spending less money. People are spending more time with their families, cooking at home together, ect. We’ve seen how fast nature can recover when we leave it alone and/or treat it with respect (i.e. less littering and polluting in highly populated areas). It is also a test of our healthcare system. Female, 21

In conclusion…
Moods and views into the future are polarised. Some can’t wait for the lockdown to be lifted others disapprove of the late action by the government. Both are in judgement of people who do not follow the guidelines. In general, the tone and comments read as fearful about contracting the virus, the future situation in the country and the whole world.

View the full USA report by clicking the link below: (use right click to translate in Google Chrome for immediate translation. Scroll down to read individual quotes about the Coronavirus!)

https://fastuna.com/report/uksh9kIbC1

Brits 'keep calm and carry on'
Jump to report
How is the mood?
Although Brits are tired of the restrictions the mood amongst them has improved since the end of March (26% vs 13%). Overall, there is a sense of calming down in terms of their reaction to the lockdown as it feels the most neutral out of all 5 markets researched. A bit worried about the ongoing covid 19 situation but keeping myself busy at home and carrying on Female, 36

Despite the current global situation, I feel like I have adapted well to the quarantine lifestyle and am only slightly put out by this Female, 24

However, living through the upcoming recession is a really big concern amongst Brits.

Trust in the healthcare system and government support:
The trust in the national healthcare system (NHS) has increased significantly since the last time. And support of the government's actions remains very high. However, many Brits expressed their concerns about the future and the financial situation and about what is going to happen after the lockdown is over. I am a little worried that the UK government will lift restrictions too early, or that the population will start to get irritable with the current rules and that more and more people will start to disobey them. I'm also worried about what comes after things go back to 'normal'- a recession, job losses, less real social connection because people will be scared to do so. Female, 24

While I feel it necessary to lockdown the country due to safety and the spread of the virus, I do not agree that all companies needed to close down, this has caused financial hardship for many. I do not believe that the government has thought this through sufficiently to safeguard against debt by contractors or self employed. The universal credit is insufficient to live on and that's without paying any bills, I have no backup plan apart from one month savings. The worry is crippling. Female, 43

What are people missing the most during lockdown?
As in other countries, seeing friends and family is the thing they have been missing most during the lockdown. Followed by going out, travelling and shopping.

Measures to be relaxed:
Keeping kids occupied appears to be one of the key issues in the UK. The reopening of schools and kindergartens as a first measure was supported by nearly half of the population and was the most supported restriction to be relaxed.

The reopening of playgrounds and play centres was also widely supported (by a third) with only the reopening of non essential shops and easing travel restrictions within the country generating more support.

Plans for the future:
Also, Brits who are used to planning within the confinements of the familiar and reliable have shown the highest % of people out of all 5 markets (around ⅓) who don’t plan anything for after the lockdown.

Positive effects of lockdown:
Brits also see the positive outcomes of the lockdown allowing them more time with family and to sort the house out. While around a half believe that things will just go back to normal in the long run. Having more time in the house to get things sorted out. Everywhere is nice and tidy and redecorated. … Female, 53

It is a mixture between being bored, feeling restricted but also seeing some positives like calming down, saving money from buying unnecessary things and going out, as well as no need to rush around and having more time with their families. I feel like I have switched off from the unnecessary things in life Female, 23

In conclusion…
For the moment the situation appears to be stable in terms of people’s emotions and attitudes though it is wise to be conscious of what is to come when the restrictions are lifted and the Coronavirus stats start to shift. How will the British mood change then or will they maintain the keep calm and carry on attitude?

View the full UK report by clicking the link below: (use right click to translate in Google Chrome for immediate translation. Scroll down to read individual quotes about the Coronavirus!)

https://fastuna.com/report/D27CePiqRk
Pragmatic Germans accept the realities.
Jump to report
How is the mood?
Germans appear to hold pragmatic views in relation to Coronavirus. 42% thought that the situation will be better over the next few months while 41% thought it would be worse.

Just 21% of Germany reported to be in a good mood, down from 32% in March, while 21% of people were in a bad or very bad mood, which may be due to the amount of uncertainty impacting them personally as well as some of their biggest industries.

Still, Germans are realistically looking to the future…
For me personally there is no positive or negative. I deal with the situation as best as possible. In general, the situation could help the majority of society to become more empathetic and grateful, I just think that won’t. As is well known, humans are not species that learn seriously from mistakes. Male, 35

Financial difficulty and recession:
Over one third of people are not looking forward to living in a recession and handling their financial situation after the crisis. Financial security appears to be the main concern for Germans going forward. The measures appear arbitrary and not well thought out. It seems as if the government is partially overwhelmed. Overall, Ms. Merkel does a good job and stays calm. The problem is that people’s patience is slowly running out. What worries me is what it means for the economic situation. Female, 31

Positive effects of lockdown:
Amongst the positive effects of the virus Germans were calling out family time, environmental impact and tranquillity of the mind.

The closure has a great positive effect on the environment, since there is less travel and consumption. In addition, everyday life has slowed down and you have time for the little things again. Female, 18
What are people missing the most during lockdown?
As everywhere else, their biggest challenge with the lockdown has been not being able to see their friends and family, going out, travelling and shopping. The restrictions are having a rather negative effect on them and their feeling of freedom. It hurts not being able to hug his loved one. That is the most difficult thing for me right now Female, 59

My personal freedom is restricted to such an extent that there is hardly any air to breathe Male, 47

Everything is limited by Corona at the moment. Many stores are still closed. You can hardly go about your normal everyday life because there are restrictions everywhere. Unfortunately I don't notice much about democracy in Germany at the moment. Female, 20

Measures to be relaxed:
Of all countries we researched Germans are the most sympathetic to the needs of children (and parents). Almost half of Germans support the easing of restrictions for kids (schools, kindergartens as well as playgrounds) the highest of all countries. Germans prioritise that facilities for kids should open first, together with pubs, cafes and restaurants.

Plans for the future:
In terms of the future, ⅓ of Germans don't actually plan anything (and here they are like Brits). If they do, they plan on travelling and attending family celebrations.

In conclusion…
Germans appear to have the most reserved view of the situation. They express that the world will not be back to normal, demonstrating a rather realistic and balanced view considering the fact that despite the government actions Germany is moving towards a recession as all other markets. This inevitably delays the reinstating of the previous status quo for a very long time. The economy is almost on the ground due to excessive measures, it only takes a certain amount of time to pump money in, it is not a good thing if half the population is just lying on the couch and living off the state Male, 55

See the Germany report by clicking the link below: (use right click to translate in Google Chrome for immediate translation. Scroll down to read quotes about the Coronavirus!)

https://fastuna.com/report/t6R5LDb0nU
Subscribe to Fastuna's news, cases and articles:

Get a monthly letter with cases and articles
For more information on our privacy practices, please visit https://fastuna.com/privacy