Marketing in the time of COVID-19: Consumer responses to the pandemic

Consumer attitudes evolved throughout the crisis. Brands need to focus less on helping in daily life and put more emphasis on guiding change.
16 November 2020
Theater marquee saying the world is closed
Aaron Peterson
Ethan Peterson

Senior Director, North America

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When the coronavirus pandemic began, Kantar mobilized our researchers in a global effort order to discover how consumers were being impacted on a daily basis. One of the goals was to provide marketers with insights about how consumers were feeling, reacting and behaving during this unprecedented crisis.

Early on, as Americans sheltered in place at home, they ramped up use of many media channels. Not surprisingly, consumers reported increased use of linear and streaming TV, social media, websites, email, messaging apps and podcasts. As people began to leave their houses, media use in general began to decline, though it remained higher than normal levels.

Consumer media usage trends during Covid-19 pandemic

One constant over the past months is that consumers want brands involved in the national conversation.

Even at the beginning of the pandemic, consumers told us that they wanted to continue hearing from brands. Less than 10% of survey respondents said they expected brands to stop advertising. But the messaging is important. Consumers want recognition that life has changed, want reassuring messages about what brands and businesses are doing and how brands are taking care of both their employees and customers.

What should brands do during Covid-19 pandemic

To learn more about what consumers expect from brands and how marketers have been managing the crisis, download the full Marketing In the Time of COVID-19 report:

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