How the pandemic has changed consumers' approach to life
% change since Q2 2020 in U.S. consumers who say the following describes them
We’ve seen U.S. consumers in the past year feeling bolder, more adventurous, and empowered. Meanwhile, there’s a diminishing need to be careful and responsible, especially with finances - something that’s also driven by a 55% increase in consumers feeling more optimistic about their personal finances since Q2 2020.
increase in consumers feeling more optimistic about their personal finances
Our Zeitgeist research paints a similar picture - treating oneself and indulging is in the top three things that have become more important to consumers in the past year (39% say this), behind saving money (53%) and spending time with loved ones (47%). This type of hedonistic mentality even takes top priority for consumers in markets like France (55%) and Italy (49%), signaling a pent-up desire to give in to temptations.
In practice, this may mean a number of things – from letting go of the safety net and normalizing quitting to pursuing new experiences, ventures, and passions. One fruitful way for brands and marketers to stand out in the year ahead would be to align their messaging and tone of voice with this new outlook. “You only live once” (YOLO) campaigns that nurture consumers’ new aspirations are likely to resonate the most.
Brands like Lexus and PlayStation are already jumping on the bandwagon. With its latest “No ceiling” campaign, Lexus inspires its audience to “let go of the wheel” and come up with new ideas. PlayStation conveys a similar message through its “Play has no limits” ad aiming to challenge the status quo of the real world and present them with new horizons in the virtual world.
% of TikTok users in the following regions who say they use the platform to post/share videos
Such strategies can work wonders even in more old-school sectors like education. Osloskolen in Norway, for example, encouraged students to create content for the school under the hashtag #YourPath, resulting in just under 5 million views and 100% exposure to the target audience. Samsung has jumped on something similar with its “Unfold your world” campaign, where creating and elevating content is highlighted as the device’s key selling point.
This mentality is also manifesting in the workplace. But understanding the real picture is somewhat blurred by what look like exaggerated statements about mass workplace exodus. Yes, the pandemic created uncertainty during which people tend to stay put, inevitably leading to pent-up resignations when confidence spikes back up.
At the same time though, job satisfaction levels haven’t really changed since last year and remain as high as 77%, meaning professionals don’t necessarily quit because of an underlying problem, but because they simply want a change. Post-pandemic, security and stability are no longer enough to keep employees content.
% who say the following about their experience of remote working and their day-to-day working practices
Though not denying its numerous benefits, WFH stripped our work life of socializing and collaborating. It wasn’t long until screen fatigue became a thing and workers became more conscious of interacting with their colleagues. Among the most common challenges WFH professionals face are difficulties communicating and bonding with colleagues (24% say this), something that’s on par with having trouble disconnecting from work.
And even though professionals might not outright admit it, we see a strong link between new work arrangements and employee turnover. Those looking for a new job in the next six months are much more likely than average to feel more stressed while WFH, to work longer hours than before, and to feel detached from the overall vision. Meanwhile, those working at their company’s office are actually less likely to be looking for new jobs.
The newly revitalized YOLO mentality we’ve seen with consumers manifests itself in the workplace through the search for meaning and happiness. Those looking to quit their jobs are 36% more likely than average to want to do more meaningful work and 31% more likely to want work that makes them happier.