How COVID-19 is impacting culture and consumer behavior: March 23 – 27.

By C-K’s Brand Planning and PR/Social teams

Many of us are entering week 4 of this new shelter-in-place life and adjusting to day-by-day changes and challenges. Last week, we witnessed people finding more and more ways to connect and be #AloneTogether, from co-watching (co-bingeing?) movies and TV to virtual dance parties. That goes for cooking and baking too–we are betting if you’ve scrolled any social media recently, you’d see a loaf or two of bread as people are using the time at home to cook more and get creative with what’s in their pantries. But the reality and impact of COVID-19 is further setting in as the country reports a record-breaking 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment last week. We continue to monitor these changes daily and share our weekly roundup with you every week.

Trends: March 23-27

(Read the trends for March 16 – 20.)

Coronavirus Connections

Last week talked about people balancing the need for distancing with the need for connection and we’re continuing to see creative ways we, as innately social beings, are adapting to maintain our social lives at a distance.

  • People across the country and globe are creating a real-life rainbow connection, filling windows with pictures of rainbows to connect with social-distancing neighbors and create a “rainbow hunt” for children.
  • The Daily Show and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee brought laughter back to the airwaves this week. Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, Conan O’Brien and John Oliver will follow their lead in the coming week.
  • Virtual dance parties have broken out, led by professional DJs stuck at home.
  • While voice usage has been in a steady decline, now that Americans are spending more time at home, voice usage is up 25% in the last week. Conversations are lasting 15% longer. Weekend connection is winning with a 44% increase in Sunday voice calls.
  • Video is becoming an increasingly important form of connection with video chats via Wi-Fi calling up 88% in the past week and Instagram releasing a co-watching feature.

Swiping Right on Furry Friends

In times of duress, consumers are finding comfort in the unconditional love offered by pets. Good thing, too, as pet surrenders are projected to rise.

Back to (Cooking) Basics

With stocked pantries and nowhere to go, even the less culinarily-inclined amongst us are learning how to work with what they’ve got to cook and bake for themselves.

  • Whether you prefer to keep it simple or try your hand at something a little more gourmet, there’s no shortage of pantry-staple recipes popping up. Even Chrissy Teigen is getting in on it.
  • Wondering why the flour section of your local store is looking lonely? Many consumers are trying their hand at homemade bread. Google searches for bread reached an all-time high in the past week (Google, March 2020).
  • Consumers are adopting a “waste not, want not” mentality. Top Google search trends are Coronavirus shopping list, shelf stable food and food stocking (Google, March 2020).
  • Consumers are anxiously finding ways to strengthen their immune systems with natural home remedies. As a result, grocery stores are seeing an increase in sales of items such as ginger, garlic, elderberry and citrus fruits.
  • Consumers trying to discover their inner-chef are turning to meal kit delivery services like HelloFresh, which has seen a 111.3% engagement increase.

Fortifying Our Homes

Stuck inside, we’re discovering the limitations of our current spaces, purging and imagining how what we’d do differently for a post-COVID reality.

Teleconferencing Moves Beyond the Boardroom

As many consumers adjust to a work-from-home (and everything-from-home) lifestyle, all the world has become a teleconference – sometimes with hilarious results.

The COVID-19 Chasm

The short and long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are further highlighting the deep divide between haves and have-nots across the U.S. and the world.

Learning a New Lexicon

As COVID-19 spreads, so does a new glossary of terms and semantics – some academic and some providing a light-hearted cultural take.

  • Consumers are mixing Quarantinis as college-aged Zoomers log on to virtual parties and listen to Quarantunes on Spotify.
  • Parents look for ways to help Quaranteens. Others have given that moniker, along with Coronnials, to babies from a potential boom coming out of COVID-19 lockdowns.
  • As some take official warnings seriously and others choose to ignore them, a showdown has emerged between Covidiots and Covidients.
  • Those cooped up at home fear the dreaded COVID-19(lbs), or the Quarantine 15.


More Insights