Managing Director & Senior Partner
We’re seeing signs of stabilization in consumer sentiment worldwide—and even a few glimmers of future light in August, as fears surrounding COVID-19 become slightly less intense and optimism over progress toward a vaccine increases. For example, coronavirus-related concerns appear to be diminishing in the US, with out-of-home activities rising to levels similar to those we saw in June. This probably reflects the recently declining rate of new COVID-19 cases in the US, following a resurgence in July.
Spending expectations remain below pre-COVID-19 levels, but we are seeing some increases, most notably in online spending in China. Although we don’t envision a full recovery in spending for some time, we’ve seen slight increases this month as consumers resume certain activities, such as eating at restaurants and staying at hotels. COVID-19 has continued to curtail travel this summer, but we’ve seen some gains in travel activity during the period. TSA screenings at airports are down 67% in August, but that is a marked improvement over April, when they were down 96%—and pent-up demand remains high. Younger consumers are at the forefront of much of the recent travel activity, as they have been fastest to resume travel, in keeping with their lower levels of concern about catching the virus.
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.
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The 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 and Global Advantage practices. For more information, please visit http://www.bcg.com/expertise/institutes/center-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.