Consumer Insights

Consumers Crave Connection During COVID-19 Life Transformations

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Hannah Pico

The COVID-19 pandemic is changing the way that consumers interact with their environment. As a result, MDRG has created a COVID-19 dashboard tracker, a nationwide survey to better understand these quick-shifting consumer attitudes, sentiments, and behaviors.

MDRG used Metaphor Elicitation exercises to capture deep, subconscious emotions that are difficult to express through words. Consumers were asked to pick images that help them express their feelings and thoughts about what they miss since the start of the COVID-19 health crisis. By allowing consumers to freely explain what the image means to them without a prompt, the researcher can avoid making any generalizations about what the consumer is feeling.

This week’s COVID-19 Tracker Report found that consumers are expressing greater optimism that the COVID-19 health crisis will end soon. While consumers feel hopeful this week, they are restless to get back to their “regular” life. The Metaphor Elicitation activity uncovered that consumers are feeling isolated, ready to return to the “old normal” and do not like that their lives have changed so quickly.

Uncovering Key Symbols Using Metaphor Elicitation

Universal symbols help consumers make meaning of their world. By asking consumers to choose images, you are giving them the tools to make metaphorical connections with images and their lives. In this week’s report, there were two recurring symbols: connection and transformation.

Consumers Are Missing Connection

Market Based Management

During the COVID-19 health crisis, consumers have shared feelings of isolation. They are yearning for in-person communication and interaction. Many consumers have shared that because of social distancing they cannot see all their family members. Others miss being able to talk to people without worrying about being six feet apart.

Consumers picked the following images and described why they chose them:

Consumer Healthcare Experience

Consumers can’t participate in some of their hobbies because they may not comply with at-home mandates. Also, consumers are missing doing group activities with their friends and loved ones.

Consumers picked the following images and described why they chose them:

Consumer Experience Healthcare

Consumers are ready to return to the “old normal”, even if that means some of the less exciting daily activities. They describe the “old normal” as waking up early, going to work, and meeting up with friends for happy hour. They miss their regular life when they could go about their daily routine. Consumers miss going to work and feeling part of a team. Others even admit that they miss their commute and traffic.

Consumers picked the following images and described why they chose them:

Customer Experience Researcher

Customer Experience Consulting Firms

Consumer Life Transforming in the Blink of an Eye

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Consumers explain that their lives have quickly transformed from freedom to a life of restriction. At-home mandates make many consumers feel that they are imprisoned or locked up during the crisis. They miss going to restaurants and going out with friends. They miss grocery shopping and exercising without the fear of sickness.

Consumers picked the following images and described why they chose them:

Customer Experience Consulting

Customer Experience Consultant

Key Takeaways

  • Consumers are feeling isolated and lonely
  • Many are missing their daily routines
  • They feel that their life has changed very quickly

Many consumers are moving their lives online as the COVID-19 health crisis continues to impact them. Brands should be showing compassion towards consumers as well as try to provide useful tools for them. Businesses should be thinking of innovative ways to deliver normalcy and connection. Not only to think about their consumers but to consider providing immense support to their employees during these difficult times.

Tracking Coronavirus’s Impact on Consumer Behavior through Market Research

Until the coronavirus ceases to impact, MDRG will continue to offer insights from both System 1 and System 2 research methods. As we collect data and release results over the next few weeks, we will highlight areas where behavior and attitudes are changing from week to week.

You can either download MDRG’s Week Four COVID-19 Report or explore our dashboard which will be updated weekly with the latest results. To receive the insights straight into your inbox, sign up for our COVID-19 Market Research mailing list here.

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