What a Difference a Year Makes!
New research from global researcher IPSOS and published by Quirks shows Americans are anxiously anticipating the post-pandemic period with a strong desire to reconnect with a ‘normal’ lifestyle. What do they crave? In some cases, the answer to that is predictable – and in other cases the answer is a surprise. But I found one thing interesting, the mood of their answers changes dramatically when Americans are asked about the topic of returning to work.
See the latest data on Americans expectations for the new ‘normal’
What a wild shared experience Americans have had over the last 16-months or so thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Forced to shelter-in-place or quarantine at homes that became their lives 24/7/365, where they worked-from-home (WFH) and their kids learned-from-home (LFH) – not to mention that everyone entertained at home non-stop. And when later it became possible to venture out locally, they were subject to mask restrictions and social distancing requirements and more. After a while…it got a little tedious.
But now about 50% of American adults are vaccinated, levels of new infections, hospitalizations, and deaths are at the lowest level since June 2020, and states are beginning to relax or remove restrictions and allow restaurants and local businesses to reopen with low- or no-capacity limits. It’s a big change. So how do consumers feel about that? To what do they look forward?
How are Americans Feeling about a Post-Pandemic Return to ‘Normal’?
A new survey from IPSOS reveals Americans expectations about the changing conditions they face in the new post-pandemic period. In some cases, they are envisioning and truly excited about the new freedoms they’ll experience. And in other cases, they are not so excited about what this means in terms of returning to work and what that all entails.
Perhaps the least surprising finding is that a large majority of Americans (74%) are anxiously anticipating “…not having to think about coronavirus or social distancing.” Yep…after 15-16 months of fixation on the many challenges of COVID-19, we can’t wait to get to the point where we don’t even have to think about it anymore.
Hand-in-hand with that result, fully 72% say they can’t wait until the time comes where they are “not having to wear masks in public anymore.” That milestone is upon many of Americans now, depending on which state you live in.
Americans Expectations Include Wanting to Reconnect with Friends and Family
Beyond jettisoning the memories of the challenges of the past year or so, also exciting Americans is the opportunity to reconnect with family and friends. Fully 60% of survey respondents said that “they look forward to meeting with family and friends outside of their household and having dinner in restaurants with their friends.”
Spreading their wings to pursue outdoor experiences are also high on the list, with Americans anxious to get out of the house and away for awhile. Right now, only about 7% say they are currently going on holiday trips and 15% are going on day trips. But now, a majority of Americans (56%) say that they are looking forward to resuming those activities as well.
A majority of the survey respondents said that they really look forward to going to parties, such as:
- Birthdays or weddings (56%)
- Bars or restaurants (52%
- Indoor cinemas or theaters (52%)
- large sporting or music events (50%)
Get These Kids Out from Underfoot
Americans expectations for this new post-pandemic period take on an added element if they have children. Parents are especially anxious to get their kids out from underfoot and back into school. Many parents have struggled to take on the extra duty of helping their kids learn-from-home while they are also still working at home. Others have expressed real concerns about the impact on their children of the lack of socialization that normal in-person school provides and that virtual schooling deprives them of.
While 16% report their kids are currently attending school in-person, 50% of respondents with kids look forward to getting their kids back to in-person school as well. And on the topic of missed socialization, 52% of respondents also said that they can’t wait to take their kids to visit the grandparents again.
CLEAR: Getting with Friends, Going to Concerts, Getting Kids in School; UNCLEAR: Returning to Work
The picture gets a little murkier when the survey turned to the topic of returning to in-person workplaces. According to the survey, of those who have jobs, a minority of them said that they were excited about…
- …seeing work colleagues in person (38%)
- …getting dressed in smart or stylish clothes (38%)
- …commuting to and from their place of work (27%)
The reintroduction of work teams back into centralized offices looks to be a bit of a bumpy road ahead, as employees make the physical and mostly mental shift to restart their in-person work lives. It did not surprise me that the lowest rating in this whole survey was the 27% who said they were excited about commuting to and from work again. Many surveys note how the lack of commuting causes many employees to rethink their jobs, as commuting is generally viewed as a highly unfavorable activity.
See more about Ipsos global market research by visiting: ipsos.com.
Learn all about market research topics by visiting Quirks at: quirks.com.