Managing Director & Senior Partner
As reopening continues around the globe, the pace of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases in different countries has varied considerably. Both China and France, for example, have substantially reduced the number of daily new cases from their first observed peak, while the US is facing a resurgence that has recently elevated the number of daily new cases in the country above its previous peak of more than 31,000, reached in early April.1 Notes: 1 Peak seven-day rolling average, centered at the midpoint; data from the New York Times. Despite this variability in case progression, consumers share a similar, universal desire for their countries to open carefully and methodically in order to minimize the potential for continued case growth and a second peak of cases.
In the US, lockdown start dates and durations, as well as the specific restrictions in place during and after lockdown, have differed across states. Among the five most populous states, the three that reopened earliest—Texas, Florida, and California—are experiencing an uptick in cases, with more consumers believing that the virus is not yet under control where they live. Nevertheless, consumers in these states have resumed out-of-home activities at similar levels to consumers in states where the daily number of new cases has fallen significantly from its first observed peak and where more consumers believe that the virus is under control, such as in Pennsylvania and New York. When we examine the activities that consumers are looking to do more of post-outbreak than they did before the pandemic began, we see that cooking, working from home, online shopping, in-home entertainment, and leisure travel are frequently cited—which is consistent with what we previously observed from BCG’s New Normal Predictors. In contrast, consumers say they want to do less work travel and large social group gatherings.
As countries continue to push through the process of reopening, we think it will be critical for companies not only to ensure that relevant health and safety protocols are in place to build consumer comfort and safeguard consumers and employees, but also to prepare for potential variations in demand resulting from the pace of new confirmed cases and restrictions on activities in different countries. In the US, we anticipate continued variability in case counts and government interventions at the state level that will impact consumer sentiment, behaviors, out-of-home activity levels, and spending—all of which companies will need to address.
Our Snapshot series will focus on key data charts on a monthly basis going forward—tracking how the sentiment and spending changes we explored in detail on a weekly basis over the past four months continue to evolve as the fight against COVID-19 progresses. Our next Snapshot, which will appear on July 27, will further explore how reopenings are shaping the pandemic and the consumer response to it.
BCG’s COVID-19 Consumer Sentiment Snapshot series is based on data drawn from an online survey of consumers that has been conducted regularly since early March 2020 across multiple countries worldwide. Each Snapshot highlights a selection of insights from a comprehensive ongoing study that BCG provides to clients. The survey is produced by the authors, who are members of BCG’s Center for Customer Insight (CCI), in partnership with coding and sampling provider Dynata, the world’s largest first-party data and insights platform. The goal of the research is to provide our clients and businesses around the world with periodic barometer readings of COVID-19-related consumer sentiment and actual and anticipated consumer behavior and spending to inform critical crisis triage activities, as well as rebound planning and decision making. A team composed of BCG consultants and experts from CCI completes the survey analytics.
The situation surrounding COVID-19 is dynamic and rapidly evolving, on a daily basis. This COVID-19 research is not intended to: (i) constitute medical or safety advice, nor be a substitute for the same; nor (ii) be seen as a formal endorsement or recommendation of a particular response. As such you are advised to make your own assessment as to the appropriate course of action to take.
We would like to thank our key contributors for this article:
We appreciate the generous support that the following people have provided in producing COVID-19 research and the associated article series:
We also thank BCG’s Center for Customer Insight (CCI) team globally, Scott Wallace, and Dynata for their support and input into this article.
Boston Consulting Group’s Center for Customer Insight (CCI) applies a unique, integrated approach that combines quantitative and qualitative consumer research with a deep understanding of business strategy and competitive dynamics. The center works closely with BCG’s various practices to translate its insights into actionable strategies that lead to tangible economic impact for our clients. In the course of its work, the center has amassed a rich set of proprietary data on consumers from around the world, in both emerging and developed markets. The CCI is sponsored by BCG’s Marketing, Sales & Pricing practice and Global Advantage practice. For more information, please visit Center for Customer Insight.
Dynata is the world’s largest first-party data and insights platform. With a reach that encompasses 62 million consumers and business professionals globally, and an extensive library of individual profile attributes collected through surveys, Dynata is the cornerstone for precise, trustworthy quality data. The company has built innovative data services and solutions around its robust first-party data offering to bring the voice of the customer to the entire marketing continuum—from strategy, innovation, and branding to advertising, measurement, and optimization. Dynata serves nearly 6,000 market research, media and advertising agencies, publishers, consulting and investment firms and corporate customers in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. Learn more at www.dynata.com.