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Stay home: Consumer trends during COVID-19

Stay home: Consumer trends during COVID-19

As the coronavirus crosses the world, our day-to-day lives are changing dramatically. Here, I look at how it’s impacting consumer trends, and how businesses are adapting to meet these new customer needs.

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#StayHome

One of the biggest impacts from the crisis is social isolation. With people having to change their lifestyle to meet new movement restrictions, shopping, working and even education have had to adapt.

Corona Consumer Trends - #StayHome monitoring

In barely a month, #StayHome has erupted from zero conversations, to a total 3.9M mentions. People are self isolating, and encouraging others to do the same.

But by staying at home, the consumer habits we’ve become accustomed to, have to change. Workplaces have moved into the home office. Kitchen tables have become classrooms. And for those who like the gym, we’re all looking for ways to stay fit while staying put.

These are consumer trends driven by corona.

Working from home

Whether following government advice, or using their own discretion, companies have had to close to protect both staff and customers. But were we ready?

With 330,000 mentions of workplace closures throughout March, the issue became a major talking point when it peaked on March 16. This was led by many major US retailers closing their branches across the country.

Corona Consumer Trends - Workplace closures

Mentions of workplace closures peaked on March 16, with many brands independently deciding to close stores to protect staff and consumers. Sample: 2%

From then on, people had to switch to working from home, where possible. And it seems people were ready. Just. Although the peak came after businesses started closing, there was a large uptick of working from home conversations, demonstrating an awareness that processes would have to adapt before they were needed. A little preparation goes a long way.

Corona Consumer Trends - Working from home mentions

Mentions of working from home, started peaking from March 13, demonstrating some mild preparation for the closures ahead. Sample: 2%

When we consider the usual chatter regarding working from home is around 50,000 mentions per week globally, 2.84million mentions from the peak week of the crisis, demonstrates a significant change in consumer habits.

What conversations are driving the trend?

Corona Consumer Trends - Working from home conversation cluster

23.1% of working from home conversations are driven by technology and related matters. The displacement of significant parts of the workforce, has required a significant technological input.

Technology (23.1%)

Conversations around technology, fall into 3 main categories -

  • The new tech needed to keep working.
  • The tech needed to keep in touch.
  • Cybersecurity.

Brands have had to invest heavily in updating their processes and workflows, to ensure collaboration can continue from afar. Cybersecurity is a major part of this, providing people with the tools they need, while protecting confidential company data.

Brands should be tackling cybersecurity risks, to protect both the company and their customers.

Home working tips (22.9%)

With working from home only becoming big in the last 2 weeks of March, people are still adjusting. Unsurprisingly then, the conversation is being led by hints and tips about how to handle it.

Sharing great working from home tips, can help build community engagement, and provide consumers with much needed help in a difficult time.

Other major conversations

Working from home struggles (10.9%) - From the serious, to the silly, people are listing the issues they’re facing in this new environment.

Confinement is certainly a real issue now.

Entertainment (6.7%)

After a long day at work (at home), people are craving more entertainment. Including more traditional and nostalgic crafts.

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Since so many of us are social distancing, WFH, and/or home with young artists, I’m sharing a few of my favorite smARTStudio “How To Tuesday” DIY blog posts 🌞Take a few moments to recharge & reconnect with your creativity, encourage discovery, and enjoy the process 🦋 From the How To Tuesday archives : Foliage Fossils 🍂 Tiny treasure collections from nature walks are fabulous finds that provide wonderful opportunities for provocations and invitations to create 🌱 Document your discoveries in art journals with a variety of mark making tools while identifying lines, shapes, and colors ✏️ Sensory exploration activities can include a descriptive discussion about textures and scents 🌸 We decided to create “foliage fossils” by pressing a few of the pieces into salt dough cookies {see my previous post for a Super smART Salt Dough Recipe} Holes were created on each piece prior to the drying process in preparation for mobile making. When dry, bright watercolor paints brushed on the surface of salt dough “foliage fossils” {see my previous post for instructions to make your own watercolors} this young artist is holding a mini masterpiece that demonstrates her knowledge of complementary colors {zoom in to see the details of a pressed geranium leaf} 🌿

A post shared by jennifer davis (@smartstudioakron) on

Now is a great time to engage new followers with hands-on activities.

Pets (3.3%)

Of course, if you’re at home all day, then that means more time with your pets. And there’s nothing more exciting on the internet, than pictures of people’s cats or pupers.

Dogs and cats drive excellent engagement even at the best of times. Right now, they’re just the pick-me up people need.

Working from home - brands

The leading tech brands that help people keep in touch are dominating all work from home conversations. Video conferencing tool, Zoom, is mentioned in 0.83% of all working from home conversations, showing a huge uptake of the tool over the last month.

Similar collaboration or efficiency tools such as Skype, Microsoft Office, Google Hangouts, also dominated the topic.

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Homeschooling

Schools, colleges, and universities have had to follow in suit with workplaces. With a pattern in mentions very much like the above.

Corona Consumer Trends - Home schooling mentions

There was a brief peak in mentions of homeschooling before the prime school closure conversation on March 13. But the real realization of the task ahead didn’t hit until Tuesday March 17. Sample: 2%

The real story here though, is that while working from home peaked then stabilized within one week, homeschooling is driving peaks week after week. Totaling 4.49 million mentions throughout March.

People are struggling to adapt to teaching children at home, and creating more conversations each week seeking help and advice. Only the weekends bring some respite.

What conversations are driving the trend?

Corona Consumer Trends - Home schooling conversation cluster

Unsurprisingly, public closures dominate the conversations related to homeschooling (21.8%). This wasn’t by choice, but the only option to take when faced with the ongoing situation.

Teaching resources (17.1%)

Again, the community was quick to respond to meet the new requirements of homeschooling. Whether teachers having to adapt to a remote teaching role, or parents learning to become home teachers (often while juggling working from home too), everyone is having to learn new skills.

With many businesses and professionals providing the resources and tools they need.

Helping provide relevant resources ensures your brand remains a vital part of your consumer mindset.

Parental viewpoint (14.5%)

As parents adapt to their new role, they’re sharing their stories online. Whether positive or negative, successful or otherwise, people are having to share their experiences as part of the coping mechanism. Finding social interactions, and community support, even when face-to-face isn’t possible.

These conversations are demonstrating the needs that consumers require the most, and would be valuable to interact with if possible.

Facing new challenges, users are turning more to social media to look for help and support. Brands should try to help in these conversations where possible.

Other major conversations

People disliking online classes (10.1%)

Some students are struggling to adapt to the changing environment, with many not liking the new online class structure. Expect this to drop as people get used to the change.

Some of the online class dislike is due to people missing the social interaction of school.

Paid student impersonation (4.9%)

There’s always someone that looks to profit from every situation. There’s been a rise of businesses offering to sit exams or classes, or write papers for students.

Educational facilities should be aware of the increased risk of this kind during this time.

Technical requirements (and lack of) (3.8%)

To make homeschooling work, students require more technical support, with items such as tablets, computers and internet. This change has highlighted a gap in technical support in some areas.

As a business, if you can help support this issue in any way, do.

Homeschooling - brands

The brands relating to homeschooling are similar to working from home, dominated by tech suppliers, offering the facilities classrooms need to keep in touch.

Corona Consumer Trends - Home schooling brands word cloud

One brand that stands out from this, is Lego. That’s due to many turning to the construction toy as a form of educational play. With the company supporting through their own initiatives.

Encourage users to connect and engage, by promoting active play.

Mentions of Lego’s #LetsBuildTogether increased 1500% in the last week of March.

Home fitness

One consistent message globally, is that even during lockdown, people are still encouraged to take daily exercise. More so than they ever have been before. With 66K mentions in March, compared to the 97.6K mentions from the previous 12 months.

Corona Consumer Trends - Daily exercise mentions

Daily exercise is a huge priority during the lockdown. Even though it didn’t matter much before.

The spikes of gym closures and home fitness peaked a little later, as most closures happened after workplaces and schools. The interesting element here is the second spike which came on Saturday March 21, showing a delayed realization of the impact from people who only use gyms at the weekend.

Corona Consumer Trends - Home fitness mentions

A second spike of conversations discussing gym closures and home fitness, demonstrates that a significant number of people were only impacted once they hit the weekend - demonstrating that much of the fitness market are weekend only users. Sample: 2%

What conversations are driving the trend?

Corona Consumer Trends - Home fitness conversation cluster

Home fitness is currently dominated by user generated content. Everyday social media users providing classes and plans for all.

Home workout videos (31.3%) and home workout plans (19%)

A vacuum quickly formed, with people looking for easy, understandable ways to stay fit while stuck inside. Everyone from personal coaches, to sports personalities, to influencers, have been sharing routines that people can follow along with.

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• • Warm up - 15 min jog + stretch W1. TRX Hamstring Curl 2x6 W2. Band Pull Aparts • A1. KB swing - Resistance Band 3x8 A2. Plyo - Ankle Bounce - Banded to Release & Forward Bounce 3x8 A3. Med Ball slam - Split stand 3x4 ea. B1. Deadlift - Double KB 3x8 B2. Split Jerk 3x6 B3. ISO - TRX - Row 3x10 sec ( 2x in one set ) C1. Squat - RFE - KB - 3x6 C2. Push ups - legs elevated 3x10 D1. Bear Stand Row 3x 8 ea. D2. TRX - Body Saw 3x8 D3. Plank - Side - Rotation 3x8 ea • #quarantine #day11 #gym #lift #strenght #training #kettlebell #trx #fitness #staystrong #hockey #athlete #routine #performance #relentless #staymotivated #homeworkout #keepgoing #stayfit #stayhealthy #staysafe #stayhome #HomeTeam 🙏🏼🏡😷🦠 • @eurohockeyorg @fihockey @hcoranjerood @scorrdhockey @hockeyfilmpje @asvmercedes @abnamronl @adidasfieldhockey @adidas

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Instagram makes sharing quick and easy routines, quick and easy. And at this time, information overrides the need for polished content.

And the most common form of exercise at this time? Walking is the simplest and easiest form of fitness.

Corona Consumer Trends - Popular sports word cloud

Walking, yoga, running and weight training are the most popular home fitness methods people are discussing right now.

Family exercise (10.8%)

There’s still a sense of family unity, even when it comes to exercise. People are finding ways to keep fit, while entertaining their children. And of course, encouraging healthier lifestyles for the younger generation too.

Look to engage all age groups in your home fitness program, to broaden your target audience.

Other major conversations

Brand led fitness workouts (9.1%)

With gyms closed, many are now engaging their audience at home, by providing their own home exercise and workout classes.

Live streaming is also another great way to engage audiences instantly.

Diet and weight loss (5.2%)

Losing weight is still quite high up in people’s minds, as they try to counteract the impact of less active lives. A healthy diet is also key to improving your immunity levels.

Exercise and a healthy diet go hand in hand. Both topics worth being part of right now.

Celebrity fitness (2.5%)

And for every trend, there are always the celebrities that want to be part of it. These people could be identified for future influencer marketing campaigns, if suitable.

Celebrities still generate conversations even now. They may be a way to engage your audience in the future.

Home fitness - brands

Numerous sport brands are included in the conversations, as people reference them in relation to sports equipment.

Technology brands are also popular, as people turn to apps and digital programs to support their fitness regimes. Spotify is of particular note, as people turn to the music app for fitness playlists.

Ongoing consumer trends?

The question is, will these trends continue post-crisis? People are creatures of habit, and these times could be changing the habits we used to know and love. Even once we’re less isolated, COVID-19 may have opened our eyes to other home-based consumer trends. Home working, home exercise and homeschooling could be here to stay.

Corona Consumer Trends - CTA