'People' Reports Consumers Changing Habits, Watching Brand Behavior Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

People is sharing the results from its recent survey culled from members of its PeopleInsiders Panel about how they are approaching brands amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The survey, which was given to 510 consumers, broached topics such as how companies are treating their employees, how they as consumers are approaching new brands when the usual is unavailable at the store, and how advertising messages impact them during the pandemic.

The survey was conducted from March 23-24.

The results show that panel participants are closely watching how companies treat their employees, with 89% responding they’re monitoring a brand’s layoffs, paid sick days and how its giving back. Some 65% of respondents said a company’s treatment of its employees during the pandemic will impact their purchasing decisions later.

Consumers are also interested in how brands are talking to them.

During the survey, 54% of respondents were eager for and receptive to ads that had a comforting message or entertaining tone. One participant responded: “So much of the news (political, economic, and climate change) is so negative. I want to be uplifted and reassured that everything will be better in the future.”



Because of widespread hoarding, many consumers are unable to access the brands they prefer to use at home. In fact, 81% of respondents reported they are open to sampling new brands and products because of shortages, while 65% are buying brands new to them or that they don’t typical purchase.

One respondent said they have been purchasing more expensive and luxury brands when their more economical brand is unavailable and buying more international food items.

Another responded: “I've recently tried a new brand of snack pepperoni, which I only noticed because everything else on the shelf was already gone. I actually like it and plan on it being a regular part of my snacking routine.”

People Insiders Panel is comprised of 14,000 consumers who have joined through invitation via print, website and social media platforms.

The panel, which launched more than a decade ago, participates in surveys, forum discussions and special events, and vet the brands featured in People, with 76% reporting trust in those advertisers. People reports 64% of its panel have said they would learn more about or already use products by brands that advertise in the magazine.


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