GroupM is reporting and “unprecedented drop in consumer confidence” due to financial worries related to the pandemic in a new report on changing consumer attitudes, behavior and media usage.
The global research underlying the report found that a majority of people (52%) feel “tense” or “distressed” as a result of pandemic-induced pressures. Less than one-third feel “secure.”
Most consumers (70%) say they are now more mindful of how and where their money is being spent, with a new focus on “essentials, versus the frivolous," along with "adopting a thrifty, self-sufficient mindset.”
In-home entertainment media has been a big beneficiary. Gaming, for example, has seen a 47% year-over-year leap in daily usage. As the report notes, “gaming as a platform has been able to fulfill several new and differing roles,” including an escape from unpleasant realities presented by the pandemic and time-filling entertainment as millions remain in quarantine or under shelter-at-home restrictions. New users tend to be slightly lighter users and older.
Daily usage of the internet for TV and video content has increased 19%.
And digital generally “has become the lifeblood for everyone, everywhere and the key to survival,” the report asserts. The pandemic has had the largest impact among “digital laggards,” who have been forced to learn the benefits of activities like online shopping, driving a more “balanced global profile” of the digital audience.
The report found a “massive uptick” in the number of people using streaming and other paid on-demand services on a daily basis (76%). Case in point: Netflix added 26 million accounts between January and June 2020, more than double the 12 million added in the year-ago period.
Not surprisingly, video communication activity such as video conferencing has soared. Globally digital communication activities have grown 31% on a weekly basis. In just one month (March) ,video conferencing app downloads totaled 62 million.
The report also quantifies media reach changes for different types of media and looks at a range of consumer attitudes toward shopping and spending money.
COVID-19 has also accelerated a focus on health and local. The report found that 85% of survey respondents are more careful about hygiene and 44% say they are exercising more. The greater focus on well-being has translated to a big lift for the health supplements market, with a 56% gain in those making a purchase in the category every two weeks.
The pandemic has been “a true game changer in terms of media consumption habits and purchasing behavior,” the GroupM study concludes. “In this new world, consumers will hold businesses and brands to higher standards across a combination of factors: empathy, honesty and transparency, being socially conscious, being personal and personable, and ensuring communication is centered on local, health and safety and value/affordability.”
Access the full report here.