How COVID-19 is impacting culture and consumer behavior: April 27 – May 1.
By C-K’s Brand Planning and PR/Social teams
Over it: that’s the consumer mindset this week. Anxiety, boredom and frustration combined has exhausted our patience with COVID and the lockdown. In the pursuit of normalcy, select states have begun to ease restrictions, masks have emboldened the public to venture out more and people are getting creative about earning money during the pandemic. Meanwhile, a promising new drug, Remdesivir, is helping people, quite literally, get over COVID-19.
(Read the trends for April 20 – 24.)
Overall, 59% of Americans have practiced social distancing in the past 24 hours, down six points since April 6. From spending more time outside the home to protests, consumers are starting to test the limits. As some states start to loosen their restrictions and the temperatures increase, we expect consumers to continue to test boundaries.
- Consumers are taking more trips outside the house in multiple states. For example, in Ohio people have taken an average of 3.2 trips vs. 2.8 trips two weeks prior.
- Americans are traveling further, +18% miles daily in past two weeks.
- During California’s first weekend of hot weather, tens of thousands of locals visited the beach to escape the heat.
- The number of personal trips grew 4% in the past week.
- On Chicago’s west side, over 100 people gathered in a small apartment for a party against local lockdown orders.
- Thousands gathered across multiple states to protest local quarantine shelter-in-place orders.
Finding a #LockdownHustle
Contract and gig workers are among the hardest hit economically. With few states structured to help them find relief, many are turning to creative side hustles to keep earning.
- Uber launched a work hub to help keep drivers earning while stay-at-home orders are in place.
- With day spas and salons closed and many gig-based estheticians out of work, virtual skin consultations have popped up. There’s even an app for that.
- Teaching with technology has ramped up as people now find ways to offer private music lessons, bring their fine art talents to tomorrow’s artists and explore opportunities to tutor academic subjects to homebound students remotely.
- More creative endeavors include writing haiku for $1 (or a villanelle for $6), providing magic for a corporate happy hour, casting love spells and sprucing up dating profiles.
Board Games make a Comeback
We’ve extensively documented the rise in video gaming during COVID-19, but the original version of gaming is also on the rise. The lockdown has reignited the globe’s passion for board games, puzzles and cards.
- Feeling cooped up, people are rediscovering all kinds of classic board games and puzzles.
- In March, sales of games like these on Amazon were up over 1,000%, in-store sales at Walmart were up 100%, U.S. puzzle sales were up 370% year over year, and Hasbro saw global sales jump 25%.
- Fans of board games practicing social distancing are hosting virtual game nights.
- In a modern twist, you can even play these classic games online with friends.
Bacon is the New Toilet Paper
Infected workers are causing meat processing plants to close or drastically reduce capacity. The result is a bottleneck that has forced farmers to euthanize pigs and chickens because they can’t be processed. Meanwhile output has slowed, leaving grocery stores with little inventory. The resulting fear of meat shortages is driving people to stock up on protein.
- Meat processing plants are closing due to outbreaks of coronavirus.
- The CEO of Tyson sounding the alarm that our food supply is in danger.
- Shoppers in NYC lined up at grocery stores hoping to get meat.
- President Trump has declared meat processors ‘critical infrastructure’ to ensure they stay open and to protect them.
The Old Rules No Longer Apply
With so many new rules people have to follow, perhaps it’s not surprising that we’re seeing some of the old rules being flouted more frequently. There has been a notable increase in some “bad” behavior.
- With less traffic, people are speeding more, leading to higher fatality rates for accidents.
- The rate of guns found on planes has increased. Some blame “apocalypse mindset.”
- More drinking in public without fear of reprise is driven by “to-go cocktails”and“driveway happy hours.”
COVID Anxiety Extends to Pets
The stress of the lockdown and social distancing is well documented in humans, but there is growing evidence it is also affecting our fury friends. While our lives are disrupted, we find comfort in them. However, we often forget their world has also been turned upside down so it’s no wonder they’re acting strange.
- Normally predictable pets are now doing odd things, leaving some speculating if their pets hate them.
- The question is have they changed or have we discovered the secret lives now that we’re home?
- In reality, we need to attend to their mental health just now and, especially, when ‘stay at home’ is over.