ST. LOUIS, April 8, 2020 /PRNewswire/
-- FleishmanHillard's TRUE Global Intelligence practice today
released the results from its six-country study, COVID-19 Mindset:
How Pandemic Times Are Shaping Global Consumers, unveiling how the
virus is reshaping our perceptions, behaviors, values and
"This crisis has clarified what really matters to individuals,"
said Natasha Kennedy, senior partner
and global managing director of FleishmanHillard's TRUE Global
Intelligence practice. "Consumer behavior has changed, and for
many, those changes will persist past the pandemic. For example,
consumers are signaling a seismic shift in their future buying
behaviors for products and services they deem important. With a
clear understanding of how the crisis has changed our expectations
and beliefs, organizations can make decisions and communicate
relevantly and meaningfully among employees, customers and
Simultaneous surveys of the United
States, China, Germany, Italy, South
Korea and United Kingdom
recently carried out by FleishmanHillard provide a snapshot of
various stages and expectations of the crisis, voiced by a
cross-section of the population including healthcare workers,
people at medical risk and those considered essential workers (65%
of working adults), all of whom seem to feel the impact more
acutely. While these countries are at various stages of the
pandemic, the study illuminated some common experiences, which the
agency will continue to track in subsequent studies as attitudes
and behaviors shift over time. These include:
Consumers are most confident in their governments, least
confident in their employers
- Across markets, national government receives the best rating
(47%) for its performance compared to other institutions, but while
79% of Chinese consumers rate their national government "excellent"
or "great," their counterparts in the U.S. (34%), U.K. (50%), Korea
(43%), Italy (39%) and
Germany (37%) all give their
national governments much lower ratings.
- Major corporations are also receiving higher satisfaction in
China (66%), but ratings range
from a high of 28% (U.S. and Korea) to a low of 17% (Germany) across the other markets.
- Employers of all sizes perform the worst, with only 29% rating
their response "excellent" or "great."
- Across these markets, seven out of 10 feels that other
individuals are doing "excellent," "great" or "good" in fulfilling
their role in this crisis, though some still need to understand the
importance of cooperating – 12% reported they've ignored
Individuals are planning for the long-term and aren't
planning to snap back to "normal" life
- A return to "normal" life varies by country, with the average
individual in China believing it's
as few as nine weeks away. Individuals in other countries believe
it will take longer: 15 weeks on average in the U.S.; 17 weeks in
South Korea and Germany; and 22 weeks in the U.K. and
- More than one in five believe it will take between five months
to two years to return to normal.
While most understand there will be layoffs and furloughs,
89% expect employers to be generous and creative in mitigating the
impact on workers
- 91% expect companies to take steps to help workers stay healthy
– providing them with protective equipment and hand sanitizer,
making sure they have breaks to wash their hands and making
physical changes to space and operations to allow social
distancing, among other steps.
- 78% understand that some companies will need to furlough and
lay off workers, a majority that holds across these countries (59%
in Korea, the lowest, and 86% in the U.S., the highest).
- 52% describe employers taking better care of their employees as
"very important" right now.
Consumers are willing to help organizations support their
- 71% will find ways to continue to patronize businesses, such as
opting for delivery and pick up (50%) or through holding
appointments by phone or online (44%).
- 34% will purchase or pay for things they can't currently use,
like gift cards (19%), and continue paying for memberships and
- 14% are willing to tip more and 9% are willing to pay higher
- 17% will donate to employer-administered funds that support
Consumers plan to be cautious, even when the spread of the
virus subsides – with substantial implications for economic and
- 95% of consumers want companies to implement physical
protection and distancing measures to help keep them healthy.
- 65% are currently postponing purchases and travel, and 52%
intend changes to their buying behaviors to continue.
- 34% are postponing major life decisions, and 26% will take
planning for major life decisions more seriously after the
- 27% are currently saving more than they normally do, and 26%
plan to save more in the future than normal.
The pandemic has changed what people value, and they want new
benefits and policies to endure
- 68% report the pandemic has changed the products and services
they once thought were important, a phenomenon even more widespread
in China (86%) and Italy (73%).
- 63% of employees want new benefits offered during the pandemic
to be made permanent.
- 71% want some of the positive government policies created
during the crisis to be made permanent, including: 69% of
Americans; 89% of Chinese; 77% of global millennials; 76% of
workers deemed essential during the pandemic; and 77% of healthcare
- 21% of people (26% in the U.S.) who would normally need to be
at their place of business to do their job now expect to have the
option of working from home.
- 26% of employees say they will be looking for another job with
an employer that supports its employees, will no longer be loyal to
their employer because of their actions during the pandemic, or
will look into how an organization treated its employees when
considering new employers.
- 63% of America's Republican Party demographic base and 68% of
the Democratic Party's demographic base say their view of the
country's political system as a whole has changed.
Nearly everyone has felt the impact
- 98% have undertaken some new practice or postponed or canceled
plans or purchases, and 90% report enduring changes in expectations
and behaviors after the pandemic ends.
- 78% are concerned for their health, and 74% are concerned for
their financial situation; this level of concern is consistent
- 18% have a family member or friend whose health has been
impacted by COVID-19, including 5% whose family member or friend
died of the disease. In China and
Italy, one-third (31% and 33%,
respectively) have a family member or friend whose health has been
impacted by the virus.
"Our research underscores the indelible importance of the
actions taken by organizations now," said Peter Verrengia, senior partner and head of
FleishmanHillard's global Recovery and Resurgence practice with
deep experience in helping organizations emerge from crises. "The
study shows the bigger the threat, economically and socially, the
more important it is to create a foundation of confidence based on
accountability, transparency, frequent updates and realistic,
incremental goals. Well-structured communications, based on values
and actions, can acknowledge the pain and challenges we all face
today, while helping to improve and even accelerate better outcomes
for individuals, organizations and society."
Around the world, despite different systems and experiences,
individuals are being united by this common experience.
"What we have seen so far as cities in China begin their early stages of recovery, is
a sense of purpose and determination, and a recognition of personal
responsibility," said Rachel
Catanach, chair of FleishmanHillard's COVID-19 Taskforce and
president and senior partner for Greater China.
"Workplaces are arranged to maintain healthy distances while still
enabling operations to resume. Employers can acknowledge
concerns about the health and safety of their employees and
customers, but still create an expectation of progress, even if
there may be occasional setbacks. With ongoing communications to
inform and engage all stakeholders as the return to work rolls out,
we believe that organizations can encourage productivity and shared
innovation that can speed a sustainable recovery."
FleishmanHillard's new Recovery and Resurgence practice is
utilizing the data and insights from the study to provide guidance
and communication expertise to organizations as they navigate the
current situation and plan for a return to operations.
TRUE Global Intelligence, the in-house research practice of
FleishmanHillard, fielded an online survey of 6,566 adults 18 and
older in China (n=1,057),
Germany (n=1,131), Italy (n=1,093), South Korea (n=1,043), the United Kingdom (n=1,123) and United States (n=1,119) from March 30-April 3, 2020. The data has been
weighted by gender and age in all markets as well as region in
the United States. The margin of
error is ±1.2% for the global total, approximately 3% in each
market, and higher for subgroups. For reference, 10% of respondents
corresponds to 151.9 million adults across these six countries.
FleishmanHillard specializes in public relations, reputation
management, public affairs, brand marketing, digital strategy,
social engagement and content strategy. FleishmanHillard was named
2019 PRWeek U.S. Outstanding Large Agency; 2019 Holmes Report North
America Large Agency of the Year; ICCO Network of the Year –
Americas 2017-2019; Agency of the Year at the 2017 and 2018 North
American Excellence Awards; 2018 Large Consultancy of the Year by
PRWeek UK; PR News' Best Places to Work in PR 2016-2018; Human
Rights Campaign Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality 2018-2020;
PR Awards Asia 2017 Greater China Agency of the Year; and NAFE's
"Top Companies for Executive Women" 2010-2020. The firm's
award-winning work is widely heralded, including at the Cannes
International Festival of Creativity. FleishmanHillard is part of
Omnicom Public Relations Group, and has 80 offices in more than 30
countries, plus affiliates in 50 countries.
About Omnicom Public Relations Group
Omnicom Public Relations Group is a global collective of three
of the top global public relations agencies worldwide and
specialist agencies in areas including public affairs, marketing to
women, global health strategy and corporate social responsibility.
It encompasses more than 6,300 public relations professionals in
more than 370 offices worldwide who provide their expertise to
companies, government agencies, NGOs and nonprofits across a wide
range of industries. Omnicom Public Relations Group delivers for
clients through a relentless focus on talent, continuous pursuit of
innovation and a culture steeped in collaboration. Omnicom Public
Relations Group is part of the DAS Group of Companies, a division
of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC) that includes more than 200
companies in a wide range of marketing disciplines including
advertising, public relations, healthcare, customer relationship
management, events, promotional marketing, branding and
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