JoltZ: Consumer Mindset in The ‘Transitional Normal’

Photo of Brad Higdon
Date: 2020-03-30 22:20:30
By: Brad Higdon
Date: 2020-03-30 22:20:30

As we round out what many consider to be (unofficially) week two of social distancing quarantine, there are indications abound of both worry and hope. The chaos and panic of weeks one and two, or “The New Normal,” has given way to the entrenchment of Week 3, “The Transitional Normal,” but we are still experiencing daily, even hourly, jolts in our economy and market impact– which have created mixed signals for consumers.

Brands have reacted differently. Some have altered their logos, shifted their offerings to more in-home consumption and others have reallocated funds to philanthropy. Ecomm continues to boon, streaming services have skyrocketed, while upfronts were canceled. We’re also seeing categorical increases in lead-gen related to home confinement, such as:

Home improvement spikes due to consumers staring at their four walls each day

Self-improvement lifts, from spending more time in front of the mirror and on video conferencing screens

Projects around analog expressions, consumers are missing the human touch

Even the expectation of marriage proposals from being disconnected and a projected lift in babies resulting from quarantine

What the next several days may bring is not totally clear, but at Zimmerman, we have conducted quantitative research and analysis in order to tap into the consumer psyche to help our clients and partners better understand what’s shaping the macro purchase influences, and where there are micro nuances in buying behavior among different consumer segments and mindset. Armed with this information, we can collectively better navigate the path to recovery and shorten the distance between what’s happening today and what to expect tomorrow.

The Macro JoltZ
Consumers are inundated each day with media coverage ranging from humanitarian concern for well-being, political action, and the ups and downs of market volatility. This overload of information is affecting consumer priorities and behaviors. Here are just a few of the things we’ve seen in the last few days:

The Bad:
The USA now leads the world in the number of COVID-19 cases
There have been more non-essential store closings this week
Unemployment claims reached record number last week and will continue to rise

The Good:
The $2.2 trillion stimulus package will have a dramatic effect on fueling the sustainability (and in some cases the survival) of businesses and personal finances… (insert: collective exhale here)
Blood plasma transfusions among COVID-19 survivors is helping to treat boost antibodies in those currently ill, along with promising applications of Hydroxychloroquine, Chloroquine and Remdesivir treatments

The Micro JoltZ
Zimmerman has gone in depth to reveal six micro trends and distinctions among consumers that will influence their shopping behaviors in the days to follow. There are notable differences by age, income, gender and even political party affiliation to be noted:

Micro JoltZ 1: The Crisis Mindset
Consumers are showing evidence that their personal anxiety has been largely contained to concern for others. While social distancing physically separates people, the human spirit is alive and well, guided by a sense of unification.

Micro JoltZ 2: Isolation Commerce
Uncertainty has fueled a focus on the essentials as purse strings tighten. How brands and business can shape and redefine “essential” will have a lasting effect in the immediate and near term.

Micro JoltZ 3: Staying Connected
There is new-found appreciation for the role of technology in our lives to stay connected. Brands and businesses that can fill the void of human contact, however virtual, will find themselves gaining favor in the hearts and minds of consumers.

Micro JoltZ 4: Life at Home
Roles at home have been redefined, reshaped and recalibrated. Juggling plates in the early going have settled into a division of home and labor shared among all family members.

Micro JoltZ 5: Keeping Up
Consumption of media satisfies consumers need for information, culture and content to stay abreast. Traditional channels for news are balanced by streaming services for entertainment.

Micro JoltZ 6: Looking Ahead
Consumers’ level of optimism is balanced by a pragmatic understanding that tomorrow does not look like today. Worry, caution and global awareness are expected to linger for the foreseeable future.

Click here to see the full in-depth report and how these trends will impact your business.