How COVID-19 is impacting culture and consumer behavior: March 9 – 13.

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

As C-Kers, and millions around the world, work from home to help #FlattentheCurve, we are parsing through news and information about the COVID-19 pandemic to help our clients strategically navigate these unprecedented and uncertain times.

Each week we will share some key consumer behavioral trends that are taking shape in order to better understand the impact COVID-19 is having on businesses and pave the best way forward for brands.

Week of March 9 – 13

COVID-19 Fears Go Viral

Fear by the numbers

81% of Americans say they’re concerned with COVID-19

  • The largest fears are on the coasts (Washington state, California and NY).
  • Women are slightly more concerned than men.
  • Parents are twice as concerned as non-parents (47% vs 29%).
  • Gen Xers and Baby Boomers more concerned than Millennials.

COVID-19 most talked about topic on social media

  • Trending hashtags associated with COVID-19 include: #Coronapocalypse, #NationalEmergency, #CoronaOutbreak, #CoronavirusPandemic, #COVID19
  • Top emojis associated with COVID-19 in the past month: 😂😭🔴👇😷
  • On March 11, 2020, there were 20 million mentions of COVID-19-related terms vs. 2 million mentions of NBA cancellations.

Hunkering Down at Home

“The dining room is now my desk, mom, and I now need a computer to go to school.” – 6-year-old Chicago elementary school student

Prepping Goes Mainstream

Hoarding, storing, escaping – all traits once associated with “extreme preppers” have now become mainstream.

  • Freeze-dried food freak-out: camping foods/emergency meals are now on backorder for months. Oregon Freeze Dried, a leader in dried food, just reported a year-over-year February sales increase of 100%. Another leader in freeze dried food, Mountain House, temporarily shut down their website to deal with sky-rocketing demand this March.
  • Panic buying: Toilet paper shortages along with hand sanitizers, disinfecting wipes and dry goods are all selling out.

To Travel or Not to Travel? 

  • Young adults are capitalizing on cheap airline flights
    • “When I came back from Japan with my husband, our companies made us work remotely for three weeks, so we decided to hop a plane and work from Hawaii.” -California Millennial Consumer
  • Not everyone wants to sit at home: trading plane trips for road trips.
  • The great outdoors is another great getaway from the coronavirus chaos.
  • While business travel, both international and domestic, comes to a screeching halt, some opportunists are making the most of bad times.
  • Business Travel Restricted: Most corporations for the near term have banned all business travel and are requiring employees to report their personal travel plans to their HR offices.
  • 67% of frequent business travelers cancelled planned trips they have in the next 60 days, and this number is expected to be higher with recent travel restrictions announced by the U.S. government in the last few days. (Coronavirus and the State of the U.S. Consumer)
  • Keep Out: In effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the U.S., Poland and Denmark are temporarily closing their borders to foreign travelers, with more expected to do the same.

The Fun is Cancelled

Bans on large group gatherings has led to a domino-effect cancellation of social and cultural events across the U.S.

Hygiene in High Gear

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