Field Period: April 18 – 25, 2020
THIS ISSUE’S FOCUS: STAYING HEALTHY
HOW ARE CONSUMERS STAYING HEALTH (OR NOT) DURING LOCKDOWN?
This week we asked our community what they’re doing to take care of their health. What’s easier about staying healthy during quarantine, and what’s more challenging?
IMPLICATIONS FOR BUSINESS
- Check-in with your customers on what they need to be healthy and provide new and relevant tools to achieve their physical, mental, and social health goals.
- Promote a diverse definition of health & wellness, beyond only diet and exercise, and recognize healthy solutions are not always or equally accessible during this time.
- Meet consumers’ desire to foster a sense of community while they are unable to gather and connect in person.
INSIGHTS THAT MATTER
AS WITH MANY ISSUES, THE COVID-19 LOCKDOWN IS POLARIZING CONSUMER BEHAVIOR AND MINDSETS ABOUT HEALTH
Dependent on their work situation, household composition, financial position and time crunch (or lack thereof), consumers either find it easier to stay on track with healthy behaviors or are finding it incredibly challenging. This duality is a theme we continue to explore in this study across several topic areas.
Parents are most likely to say their lifestyle has become more stressful and hectic in the past several weeks, as one or both may be working from home, and parents must keep their kids occupied and/or engaged in virtual learning of some sort during the day. Parents are struggling to fit in their own health and self-care around their kids’ topsy-turvy schedules.
“With a kid that needs a lot of attention and time it’s always a balance between my own needs and everyone else’s in the house. I tackle things slowly and surely, and don’t commit to finishing things on any given time line if it’s not work related because I know if I do I will get frustrated. I tend to be the rock in my family so I need to have a lot of flexibility.” –KathrynD, Age 37, Millennial, Suburban
On the flip side, many find themselves with considerably more time on their hands, which presents both challenges and opportunities for health. Some struggle with stress, weight gain, unhealthy eating, and inactivity. Others have found ways to eat healthier (less dining out!) and get outside more than ever before.
PARTICIPANTS CITE SEVERAL CHALLENGES CONTRIBUTING TO LESS HEALTHY BEHAVIORS DURING QUARANTINE
- Gym closures mean those who usually work out in a gym environment must find at-home alternatives to these workouts, whether outside or at home. Lack of space and weather concerns make it hard to find a consistent routine.
- Added stress may mean more snacking/overeating, less sleep and an overall lack of motivation.
- Respondents cite boredom and a “stagnant” daily routine as a key issue. Some miss the mental stimulation or physical exertion they had at work, and many just find it hard to stay motivated.
- Local parks and hiking/biking trails may be closed, or dependent on locality, respondents may be under strict stay-at-home orders.
- Some find healthy foods (especially fresh produce) are in short supply in their area, so they are buying more processed food.
MOST SAY THEY ARE AT LEAST ATTEMPTING TO STAY HEALTHY
- Some feel they spend more time outside as a result of the lockdown, especially those living in suburban and rural environments. They have more time to walk, bike, and garden and getting outside supports both physical and mental health.
- Mental health is a top concern for many of our respondents, who acknowledge they are feeling more stressed and anxious during this turbulent time. Respondents say limiting news exposure, staying connected with family and friends, and seeking virtual counseling are crucial to maintaining mental health.
- Sleep is a key component of health and this is one area some respondents believe has benefitted from COVID-19. Early wake-ups and rigid routines have gone by the wayside for many families.
- Respondents want to keep their brain healthy as well during this time. Puzzles, games and reading are all considered brain-building, healthy activities which many now have time to pursue.
Metametrix pinpoints values in consumer comments regarding health and wellness
Fun and a sense of belonging are important values as consumers think about ways to stay healthy. This comes out particularly as participants talk about missing social interactions (including social workouts), and how this contributes to their level of stress. At the same time, they may be taking more walks with family… or to escape their family for a bit.
Consumers are also seeking a sense of thrill and challenge but may be grappling with financial worries at this time.
Metametrix analysis finds that a key concept in this data is “going for walks” – which many participants cite as one way to stay mentally and physically healthy. In fact, mental health continues to be a key theme in this work, with people trying to spend time outside and moving their body to maintain a sense of balance.
In future issues we’ll explore:
- Fun and games – how is COVID-19 impacting gaming behaviors – digital and analog?
- Seeking medical care (or not) during the coronavirus outbreak, including telehealth