Throughout the unprecedented circumstances of the past few months, consumers have been on a rollercoaster of emotions. First there was the initial shock and fear, and then the adrenaline comedown and fatigue.
And now? There’s certainly a glimmer of hope as restrictions start to lift—though tempered by frustration that the whole process will take so long, as well as financial and job security fears that many will have to live with for some time to come.
So what’s on consumers’ minds?
Taking a snapshot view, right now we know that a large portion of consumers are working, homeschooling, staying informed, keeping entertained, and maintaining connections from home.
When asked about how they’re feeling and what they’re doing, here’s what they talk about:
- Being grateful for the small things
People are trying to stay positive; 66% are “currently enjoying the simple, everyday pleasures of life.” (All Core Research, April 2020)
- New interests, activities, and hobbies
A 2408% increase in search for bread recipes (Easy Food survey, April 2020) is merely the start of it; from gardening to writing, new pursuits are being used to pass the time.
- A desire to maintain new habits
In looking to the post-COVID world, this might be the most interesting indicator of how behaviour may change: 72% want to keep new habits they’ve formed during lockdown (everymum, April 13–16 2020).
- Affection and connection
Avoiding hugs (35%) and not kissing people on the cheek to greet them (41%) will become the new normal (Wunderman + Thompson, April 10 2020).
With fears of a deep recession across the globe, money is on the mind. 46% have needed government income support (everymum, April 13–16 2020).
- Job security
With economies worldwide temporarily paralysed, 40% of working families are concerned about job security (everymum, April 13–16 2020).
What do their changing media consumption habits look like?
Unsurprisingly, the lockdown period, coupled with the ever-changing news on COVID-19, caused significant shifts in how and where we engaged with media—old and new.
- Lots of TV time
90% of adults watched TV yesterday; that’s an 18% increase on last year 2019 (Adworld, March 30, 2020).
- Lighting up social media
Social has exploded. Instagram and Snapchat have enjoyed the biggest growth, up 45% and 42% respectively (Adworld, March 30, 2020). Instagram in particular has demonstrated the versatility of its platform with something for everyone—from teachers live-streaming lessons to charity concerts, home workouts, and fitness challenges.
- A huge appetite for entertainment
With everyone living their lives indoors, home entertainment has become indispensable. Console and mobile gaming, movie streaming and mobile messaging have seen a massive rise in demand.
- More research and less spending
Customers are researching brands, and initiating more online interaction with businesses, than they were a year ago. Between February and March, this online behaviour resulted in an average monthly website traffic increasing by 13% (Hubspot Feb-March 2020). The bad news: many people aren’t looking to buy, but rather looking to learn more about products and services.
- Demand for content
Local publishers report an average growth of 49% in unique users over recent weeks (Adworld, April 22 2020). That’s particularly focused around news, food, and family related matters—as we’ve witnessed on our owned media, easyfood.ie and everymum.ie. The appetite for audio products continues to expand, too; music streaming has increased by 72%, and listening to podcasts is up 50%.
What will happen in the future?
It’s hard to tell how this global crisis will change our lives long-term. Some of these new habits and behaviours may have sticking power, which will change our consumption of everything—from online shopping to media—forever.
That’s why a short-term strategy, together with the flexibility to change tack as needed, will be key to success in the immediate future. There’s lots that you can do to make sure you’re in the box seat—starting with these eight steps to nail your content marketing.
To discuss how your brand can connect with consumers, send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org