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GenC: Consumer Behavior in the Time of Corona

13 Mar 2020 Marlea Clark

in Health & Wellness, Strategy, Glimmer

Our most pressing concerns are for the health and well-being of all Americans, while also getting a handle on how consumer behaviors can help us identify positive approaches for our brands to effectively move forward during—and after—a pandemic.

This week, eMarketer said that, “as uncertainty over coronavirus continues to grow, consumers are becoming more cautious about shopping in public spaces.” Nearly 75% said they would steer away from shopping centers altogether, if the outbreak worsened.

We asked the women of our own Stella Rising community, Glimmer, what they are thinking and how they are changing their behavior in light of the pandemic, and response was a near 50/50 split between deep concern:

I am very scared. I feel like it is already here we just don't know it yet. I have a very small stockpile in case I get quarantined in for a while.

And a keep calm and carry on attitude:
I haven’t changed anything. I think people are being overly cautious. I understand it for the immuno-compromised and the elderly.

There is no single best response to such an unprecedented cultural moment, as consumers themselves are divided in their behavior. The data scientists at Spate point out that while searches around “social distancing” are growing, so are searches for “glow primers” as women still seek out beautiful skin and the comfort of a new product discovery. They may also be looking ahead to a springtime return to normalcy. 

For the current moment, we’re talking with our brands about a few key questions, shaping answers that will help guide their future success:

  1. How is your digital game? While experiential and IRL shopping experiences are unquestionably taking a hit, everyone we talk to is on their devices 24/7, looking for information, reassurance, and often distraction. Meet consumers where they are, with timely messages that reflect their lives and UX that offers seamless online experiences.
  2. Are you clean? Clean matters, more than ever. When the pandemic eases, we believe its effects will linger, leaving consumers with a heightened concern for ingredients and supply chain transparency. Ensuring your brands address these issues in an honest way will be crucial.
  3. What are you saying to Gen Z? We believe the pandemic will leave its most lasting mark on this up-and-coming generation, many of whom are having to leave their college dorms, end their high school sports careers abruptly, and maybe never walk in that graduation they had so looked forward to. Sure, they’re sad that Coachella—and every other festival—has been cancelled, but they’re also worried about what a changing economy is doing to their job prospects. They’re spending this time on their phones, connecting with each other and commiserating. Consider your messages to them during the crisis and afterwards, whenever things return to a new normal.

We’re calling this generation, and to some extent, all of us who will be affected by health concerns, market shocks, and worldwide uncertainty, GenC, a group whose behaviors and preferences will be significantly—and lastingly—influenced by coronavirus.

We’re speaking with our community every day and will continue to check in on how they’re thinking, feeling, and behaving in this new world.

Health & Wellness Strategy Glimmer