COVID-19 & Its Impact on Everyday Life: April 3 – 6, 2020
Americans continue to have a negative outlook on the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic. While we see stabilization in pandemic concern and trajectory, this is not reflected in behavior, where more Americans attempt to minimize their exposure to society.
As consumers lean more on delivery for needed items such as groceries and medication, we’re seeing an impact on brand attention.
This is also shifting brand opinions. In “normal” times, shifts in brand opinion are typically very gradual, even glacial. In this week’s study, one in seven Americans report having an opinion change brought on by brand action (or inaction).
One other area we explore this week is the emotional impact of COVID-19 by gender. Women are more widely experiencing a range of negative emotions than men and are far more likely to miss family and friends.
Over the past five weeks, Russell Research has interviewed over 5,000 Americans about their concerns with coronavirus and how it is impacting their everyday and planned behavior. Russell Research’s COVID-19 Monitor will evolve in the coming weeks as the situation changes.
Below are our key findings from April 3-6, 2020.
Views of the Current Situation
Concern has stabilized and remains very high. Between April 3-6, more than nine in ten Americans (93%) indicated they are concerned about coronavirus, equal to 93% from one week prior. This is the first week it has not increased across our five weeks of tracking.
Americans continue to view the COVID-19 situation as getting worse. Nearly three-quarters of Americans (74%) believe the current situation is getting worse, compared to 73% last week. However, the percentage who believe it’s improving (10%) is at a low point.
Impact on Brand Perceptions
Brand opinion has changed due to COVID-19 with advertising having a net positive impact on brands during the pandemic.
- 10% of Americans have positively changed their opinion about a brand due to their actions during the pandemic. The leading reasons among this 10%:
- 44% indicate it’s due to a brand changing production/manufacturing to help others (4% of all Americans)
- 34% indicate it’s due to offering free/upgraded/discount services to their customers (3% of all Americans)
- 27% indicate it’s due to brand advertising (3% of all Americans)
- 23% indicate it’s due to a donation (2% of all Americans)
- 7% of Americans have negatively changed their opinion about a brand due to their actions during the pandemic. The leading reasons include:
- 60% indicate it’s due to making no attempt to help others (4% of all Americans)
- 21% indicate it’s due to a negative customer experience (1% of all Americans)
- 27% indicate it’s due to brand advertising (1% of all Americans)
Impact on Behavior
While concern and the perceived trajectory of COVID-19 have stabilized, Americans are increasingly minimizing trips for essential items.
- 56% of Americans are less likely to go to a large store (+1 percentage point vs. last week)
- 41% are less likely to go to the convenience store (+5)
- 34% are less likely to go to the grocery store (+2)
- 25% are less likely to go to a pharmacy/drug store (new)
- 64% of Americans are more likely to order online (+2)
- 50% are more likely to stock up on household items (+4)
- 49% are more likely to order takeout or delivery (+3)
- 35% are more likely to order have groceries delivered (+5)
- 23% are more likely to have medication delivered (new)
Delays in major purchases / investments are more widespread.
- 52% of Americans are less likely to make a major / “big ticket” purchase (+8 percentage points vs. last week)
- 75% of Americans who were planning on a large home improvement project are now holding off on moving forward (+4)
These changes have resulted in changes in brand attention and usage.
- 28% of Americans have paid less attention to brands and focus on what’s available in specific product categories – the leading categories are laundry, paper, and cleaning supplies (66% of those who paid less attention), personal care products (34%), frozen foods (31%), and dairy products (30%).
- 11% of Americans have paid more attention to brands and focus on what’s available in specific product categories – the leading categories are laundry, paper, and cleaning supplies (52% of those who paid more attention), personal care products (42%), snack foods & candy (34%), and frozen foods (29%).
- 13% of Americans have switched one or more brands they regularly use
- 8% of Americans have discovered a new brand which they will continue to use in the future
The pandemic is disproportionately resulting in negative emotions among women.
- Overall, 88% of Americans report feeling 1 or more negative emotions over the past week (no change from last week).
- However, this is comprised of 93% of females with negative emotions compared to 83% of males (a +10 percentage point difference).
- There are particularly large gaps between women and men in terms of feeling:
- Stressed: 56% of women vs. 36% of men (+20)
- Overwhelmed: 38% of women vs. 19% of men (+19)
- Sad: 32% of women vs. 15% of men (+17)
- Anxious: 53% of women vs. 37% of men (+16)
- Frustrated: 43% of women vs. 30% of men (+13)
- Uncertain: 51% of women vs. 38% of men (+13)
- When the situation improves, 70% of women can’t wait to see family and friends, compared to 49% of men (+21 percentage point difference).