Global COVID-19 Barometer: Financial uncertainty outweighs health concerns as pandemic progresses.

09 April 2020

April 2020 – New analysis from Kantar's COVID-19 Barometer, the leading study exploring the market implications of the coronavirus, reveals how people are reacting and adapting to the “new normal” as the pandemic progresses.

Now surveying more than 30,000 consumers across over 50 markets, major findings from the second wave of the study include:

Financial concerns are #1 worry

  • More than half of people globally (52%) say their day-to-day lives have now been impacted by the current situation – up from 39% in wave 1.
  • All around the world, overall levels of concern are intensifying as the pandemic progresses. The rise is particularly evident in the UK and US, where concern levels have increased by 23 percentage points to 82% and 21 percentage points to 79% respectively.
  • Financial concerns outweigh personal health concerns. 68% of people say the situation demands more proactive financial planning (up from 62% in wave 1), and 60% (vs 53% in wave 1) are worried about the economy’s ability to recover. Only 50% of people are concerned about falling sick compared to 45% in wave 1 of the study.
  • The financial concern is driven by the very real impact COVID-19 is having on household incomes, with millennials feeling the most severe impact. 78% of 18-34 year olds say their household income has or will be impacted by coronavirus, compared to 71% overall.

News consumption is up, as people seek to stay informed

  • Being prepared and keeping well informed is the primary response across markets, seen as paramount by more than a third of respondents globally (34%).
  • National media channels, such as nationwide TV channels and newspapers, are still seen as the most trusted source of information, with 54% of people identifying them as a trustworthy source (up from 52% in wave 1).
  • Audience Measurement data collected by Kantar has recorded significant viewer increases in new outlets around the world:
    • In China, the time spent watching news programmes has more than doubled in the first three months of the year from 9 hours in 2019 to 18.5 hours in 2020.
    • In the UK, 17 out of the 20 most watched shows in 2020 have been BBC News.
    • In Brazil, the share of time spent watching the news has increased by a third through the month of March.
  • Trust in government websites has increased to 54%, vs 48% during wave 1 of the research, suggesting that as the severity of the pandemic increases, people are increasingly looking to their government for information and support.


Those most affected see this is an opportunity to reset

  • Young adults are more likely to be feeling the financial impact of the coronavirus and are experiencing the most change to their day-to-day lives. Many are making healthier lifestyle choices, as people look to take control of what they can:
    • 59% of 18-34s say they are eating healthier
    • 57% are using this an opportunity to sleep more
    • 48% are exercising more regularly
    • 44% are focusing on personal development
    • 25% are choosing to meditate
  • Older age groups (55+) are trying to get a much sunlight as possible in the context of greater restrictions to their freedom of movement.

Consumers increasingly expect companies to ‘step up’

  • Data from the first wave of the COVID-19 Barometer research found that people expect businesses to prioritise staff welfare and to play their part in supporting society through the pandemic. Analysis of data from the second wave suggests the public role for companies is accelerating, as people expect practical help from companies, including the donation of useful items and helping the government.
  • 47% (41% in wave 1) of people expect companies to support hospitals during the crisis, while 39% (35% in wave 1) say that companies should be making themselves available to governments.
  • Like companies, brands are also in the public eye – and are expected to be practical, realistic and helpful. 31% of people want brands to help them during their everyday life suggesting that how brands behave now will be remembered in life after the pandemic.
  • Only 8% of consumers believe that companies should stop advertising, with many claiming that it is a welcome distraction, reminding most of more normal times.

The COVID-19 Barometer has been enriched with advanced profiling insights from some of the largest media markets using Target Group Index (TGI), Kantar’s syndicated consumer insight survey. This enables in-depth profiling of target audiences by 1000s of variables including rich demographics, lifestyle & attitudes, brand use and media habits. COVID-19 Barometer subscribers can gain a deeper understanding of the characteristics of different respondent groups in given markets within the current study.

To learn more about COVID-19 Barometer, and to request more information please visit:

About Kantar: Kantar is the world’s leading evidence-based insights and consulting company. We have a complete, unique and rounded understanding of how people think, feel and act; globally and locally in over 90 markets. By combining the deep expertise of our people, our data resources and benchmarks, our innovative analytics and technology, we help our clients understand people and inspire growth.

About COVID-19 Barometer: Kantar’s COVID-19 Barometer is the leading study on how COVID-19 is influencing consumers’ behaviours, attitudes and expectations. The full dataset is available on a subscription basis at

About the data:These insights were collected in Wave 1 and 2 of Kantar’s global COVID19 Barometer. For the first wave of the study we spoke to over 25,000 people in over 30 countries between 14th and 23rd March 2020. For the second wave we spoke to over 30,000 people in over 50 markets between 27th and 30th March. We conducted 500+ interviews per country, mostly online, otherwise by telephone.

The analysis covers the following countries, to enable comparison between wave 1 and wave 2 data: Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Nigeria, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, UK, USA.