A Very Covid Christmas
Forethought has been tracking the mind and mood of Australians as we navigate the challenges of the Covid-19 crisis. Our aim has been to support our clients to rethink and reframe their offer to meet the changing needs of consumers as we all deal with the stressors and opportunities that this most unusual moment in time has created. This is the Normality Index, which has now been fielded since 27 March 2020 compiling responses from over 14,000 Australians on what is important to them now, how they are feeling and how this impacts on behaviour.
As a companion study, we wanted to understand expectations around Christmas 2020. After the devastation of bushfires on the eastern coast early in the year, followed by the global COVID-19 pandemic, we wanted to understand how Australians were feeling towards the upcoming festive season and what they are seeking from it. Additionally, the program aimed to understand expectations and intentions on preparing for the holiday season, entertaining, shopping and travel. The core program included Rapid Ethnography with 20 consumers across Victoria and Western Australia (the two extreme states in Australia) to uncover insight into a typical festive season and current sentiment towards the upcoming season. And then between 9-13 October we asked 2000 Australians to share with us their thoughts and feelings about the impending festive season.
While there are the expected differences across states what is striking is the overall similarity for all of us in feeling underwhelmed as move into the holiday season. This is based more on a feeling of restraint, even from states like WA and QLD, where we don’t believe we will be able to engage in our community and family traditions to the same extent as normal. This has flow on effects on our intentions to engage in get-togethers and gift giving in particular. There are also implications for timing of shopping and of course the channels that will be used.
The exception of course is for households with younger children – here there is a palpable expectation that Christmas can in some ways work to alleviate the stress of the COVID year.
There are some important signals here for organisations who want to shape their offer and their messaging to respond sensitively to the complexity we are all managing. Can you surprise and delight consumers by enabling or creating new traditions, can you meet expressed needs for relaxation and indulgence? You will find the report below.