Predictions regarding the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic on society are abound. Many economists, and some sociologists, are predicting a dark decade ahead that is more reminiscent of the Great Depression (although not nearly as severe) where consumers are more fearful, depressed, and reserved. Others are predicting a renaissance akin to the Roaring Twenties. Many sociologists point to the last major pandemic that engulfed the world, the Spanish Flu, roughly 100 years ago. Like the COVID-19 pandemic, the Spanish Flu had similar impacts on society throughout the world with populations ordered to stay indoors and social distancing mandated in public, which of course was far more difficult back in 1918 and 1919 with the absence of today’s advanced technology.
The consumer sentiment that led to the eruption of the Roaring Twenties is very similar to the attitude of today’s consumer as they deal with the continuing pandemic and social strife (Black Lives Matter). Consumers are fraught with a combination of emotions like depression, anxiousness, boredom, helplessness, fear, insecurity, and even anger. Qualitative research we have conducted among a cross-section of consumer types indicates that people have taken their pre-pandemic lifestyles for granted and that they plan on cherishing and celebrating their lives (in new ways) once the pandemic has been contained.
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