GfK study on the pandemic: Worries decrease, digital media use increases

In a recent study, GfK investigated how Corona changed the consumption habits of the population in the 2nd lockdown compared to the first lockdown. Overall, the Swiss population is somewhat less concerned about its personal future than at the beginning of the pandemic.

GfK has been continuously surveying consumers about their biggest concerns since April 2020, including now in the 6th wave, in March. Concern about the pandemic is still among the top concerns in the second partial lockdown, but has declined further after peaking in April last year.

People with low incomes are more affected by the pandemic, in that they are more likely than average to have high financial worries (18.6% Top1). Women (16%) and young couples without children are also more exposed (16%) than other parts of society.

In the French-speaking part of Switzerland, significantly stronger polarization tendencies can be seen. Just under one-fifth of the French-speaking Swiss are very worried about their finances, while just under one-third of the French-speaking Swiss have no financial worries. In German-speaking Switzerland, the situation is more balanced.

Climate change and environmental protection continue to be a major concern for the Swiss

Ecological issues, such as climate change or environmental pollution, continue to be important for the Swiss population. Global climate change has always been the main concern for the young generation since the beginning of the pandemic.

Economic situation

The vast majority of Swiss are at least somewhat concerned about their personal future because of the economic consequences of the corona pandemic. They are somewhat more optimistic about their job situation than in recent months, but one-fifth still worry that their job situation will be affected (e.g., in the form of dismissal).

Swiss rethink their values

Compared to the first lockdown, consumers' lives have not changed much. But compared to the time before the pandemic, of course, they have, which has caused them to rethink their values and get used to the completely changed everyday habits to some extent. Saving remains popular during the crisis. Half of the respondents (51%) say they will spend less money than usual in the near future. Even after the second lockdown, Swiss people spend significantly more time outdoors (42%) or cooking (+35%) or on other domestic activities than before.

The digital media that accompanied people during the crisis are used much more frequently (Internet +36%, TV +29%, streaming services +22%) and are likely to have greater importance in the future.

Positive signs for the retail trade

Shopping malls or outlets are avoided significantly less (28%) than at the beginning of the crisis (45%).

Almost two-thirds of the Swiss (64%) say they want to buy more products from local manufacturers.

In addition to online shopping, where there was growth, the telephone hotline and video consulting sales channels are also gaining in importance. 14% and 21% of respondents said they would use these more often in the future.

Little trust in responsible corporate action

Not even half of the Swiss (42%) believe that companies will behave more responsibly as a result of the Corona crisis. There were also some significant shifts in the reputation of companies as a result of the crisis, both to the positive and to the negative, depending on how companies perceived their responsibility or even contributed something to the solution.

More articles on the topic