How COVID-19 is impacting culture and consumer behavior: April 13 – 17.
By C-K’s Brand Planning and PR/Social teams
We are in week six of staying at home due to COVID-19 and turning our focus to relationships. We’re restless and anxious while waiting out this pandemic: why does it feel like Groundhog’s Day while everything also seems to be changing at the same time? Our new is unknown and our personal, professional and financial relationships are all in flux because of it.
Trends for April 13 – 17.
Getting Along in Captivity
For some, relationships amidst COVID-19 have benefited. For others, all this togetherness has taken a toll. For all, the longer the pandemic persists, the more fluid our relationships become.
- Much has been reported on married couples navigating the pandemic, but families with joint custody are renegotiating their situations. In one case, an ER doctor temporarily lost custody of her daughter.
- For singles, dating app usage in quarantine is up, allowing people to connect near and far. And on the not-so-bright side, we can add a new term to our COVID-19 lexicon—”zumped,” meaning dumped over zoom.
- If you want to connect IRL with a single in your area, you can try what one Brooklyn man did—send a drone to ask a woman out and show up in a bubble for a first date.
- Our relationship with our libidos may also be different, with reports of a “horniness gap” (spoiler: women are more…) and a “sex boom” as sales of sex toys and Viagra have risen. But if you’re not in the mood, you’re not the only one: Trojan sales fell 21 percent the first week of April.
A Virus With a Gender Gap
COVID-19 is impacting men and women differently, both physically and financially. For some, it’s also raising alarms about a backslide on gender equality.
- The disease itself has proven more fatal to men than women.
- The economic fallout is hitting women harder than men, with unemployment rates slightly higher among women than men. For black women, the numbers are even worse.
- There is also concern that the “pandemic magnifies all existing gender inequalities.” And, with many parents working from home, women are reporting that they are still doing a majority of the household chores and childcare.
- Others argue this may be a moment when fathers become more visible and active in childcare.
The Parents are Not All Right
Parents are having a hard time settling into a routine between WFH and home schooling. Many schools are canceled for the rest of the year and some camps have canceled summer programs.
- Parents are burnt out from juggling too many priorities at once and, in some cases, facing school closures for the rest of the year.
- Even in more privileged households, “parents are not doing okay.” One mother tweeted that she pulled her child out of his virtualfirst-grade classes to maintain her sanity.
- New research uncovered that lower-income parents fear their children are falling behind and not getting as much online instruction as wealthier counterparts.
- Forced to limit the outside support, single parents are stressed. On top of that, they’re concerned about what happens to their children if they get sick.
- If you need a little humorous guidance on your parenting, try this decision chart.
To Screen or Not to Screen
Another parental dilemma—screen time. With school moved online and families’ growing need for entertainment and escape, parents are putting screen time restrictions on hold. Experts agree.
- Comedian Jim Gaffigan hilariously pointed out that “The great irony of distance learning is that it occurs on screens; screens, the great enemy of parents!”
- Many experts are advising that it’s OK to relax normal screen time limits during this time.
- Instead of only focusing on time, expert advice suggests focusing on “time, quality and buddies” together to guide your kid’s overall screen use.
Living Our Best Virtual Lives
When “the world is too much” we are turning to virtual worlds to escape our current reality.
- Just when we had to shelter in place, the Nintendo Switch game “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” was released and millions have been playing it for its cute animals and idealistic society where “pastoralism and capitalism coexist perfectly.” And it’s not just young people and celebrities playing, even grandmas are in on the action.
- Others are retreating to the world of Stardew Valley where your avatar can attend a graduation ceremony or attend prom.
- Children are escaping their parents by turning to Roblox to play 3D games and socialize with their friends.
Shifting Money Relationships
Thirty percent of consumers expect their financial situation to become worse over the next six months. So, they’re reprioritizing their spending, and in many cases, dramatically reducing what they spend overall.
- Consumers are choosing to save versus spend: Over 60% of consumers said they are spending less during the crisis to protect their financial health as well as their physical health.
- Public donations increased 67% in late March as Americans feel a sense of social responsibility during the pandemic.
- They’re looking for deals as the order value across categories has dropped double digits since the pandemic.