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The view from tomorrow

3 min read

Consumer behavior in the time of COVID

In May of 2020, we took a look at how the global pandemic might leave a lasting impact on our attitudes and behaviors – the kind of culture-shaping crisis the likes of the Great Recession and World War II. It was, as are all predictions, educated speculation.

One year later, we wanted to take a fresh look at consumer behavior changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so we asked our bright (and brave) strategy intern to give us a grade. As a conclusion to her summer MAIP internship program at Doe-Anderson, she leaves us with this dispatch as a voice of marketing’s future:

For one of my intern projects, I was tasked with comparing Doe’s COVID-induced trend predictions from 2020 to our realities in 2021 and, by extension, I fell deep into the rabbit hole of human culture. By nature, the practice of trend watching and forecasting isn’t meant to be rocket science. It can be as easy as noting that users on TikTok have been circulating videos of old family memories and digging deep beyond the surface to see the bigger picture: consumers feel nostalgia and yearning for better times and seek to bond with others who do, too. But, forecasting how people will act through a pandemic, especially at a pivotal time like now, has been harder than I expected.

evidence wall

As a young person, I see the world through rose-colored glasses. As we struggled through difficult times as a society, I had all the hope that my fellow citizens, old and especially young, would recognize the logic and benefit of acting as one and protecting one another as our own. But human beings are not logical, and I have been wrong many a time. When I think that people would clearly see the problems in front of them and act in a way that benefits all, they defy my expectations. I found it quite hard to hold a firm grasp on the way we conduct our lives now, as our beliefs and behaviors shift and slip through my fingers like a wily eel.

I tried my best to wrangle together some core ideas that will center the trends we see moving forward. But, it would be naive to accept any of these as fixed because our circumstances change every day. Right now, our society stands divided in many ways, firmly planted on either end of a tug-of-war rope. It can be disheartening to hear and see all the ways we are divided, but I take comfort in the fact that the one thing that unites us all is our innate desire to push through the suffering and keep fighting for the light at the end of the tunnel. So, as the going continues to be tough, stay grounded in your core human values, show compassion for all and seek the silver lining of growth and innovation. Maybe one day, we’ll find that there was really no reason to play tug-of-war at all. I, for one, am a much bigger fan of Jenga.

Download the full, updated report on how the pandemic has affected consumer behavior here.

Interested in learning more or talking about how these trends may apply to your brand? Get in touch!

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