How Americans are Creating (Safe) Summertime Joy in 2020

Glimmers of hope and cautious optimism are helping to drive creative, albeit unconventional, plans to enjoy the warmer months.

The author(s)

  • Jennifer Torgersen Director, Ipsos Social Media Exchange
  • Jordan Massa Director, Ipsos Social Intelligence Analytics
  • Kaitlyn Click Community Manager, Ipsos Social Media Exchange
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With the fourth month of quarantine underway for much of the country, Americans find themselves heading into a summer season full of uncertainty and conflicting emotions. As restrictions continue to be lifted, several states are experiencing a rise in new infections, leading forecasters to believe that the crisis is far from over. According to the latest Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index, even while Americans are increasingly engaging with each other outside of the home, concerns about a second wave and perceived risks of regular activities are on the rise.

So what are the implications for consumer behavior this summer? Recent conversations across social media and our syndicated U.S. online community reveal a few emerging themes that help paint a picture of how the season may be shaping up – with glimmers of hope and cautious optimism that are helping to drive creative, albeit unconventional, plans to enjoy the warmer months.

Hope vs. Fear as States Reopen

A steady decline in social conversation on COVID indicates Americans are fatigued by the pandemic, and making fewer direct references to the virus. At the same time, while anger, fear, and boredom dominate the emotional spectrum, many are also expressing feelings of hope and optimism tied to various stages of reopening across different states.

Daily conversation volume

Source: Synthesio 5/25-6/8/20, specific mentions relevant to COVID-19/Coronavirus in U.S., English only
 

how do you feel this week

Source: Ipsos Syndicated Online Community Qualitative Tracker 6/11-6/15/20 (n = 825)
 

Fear still remains very real, however – and for many, stems from the lack of trust in other people following proper safety precautions – especially as stay-at-home orders begin to lift and large crowds gather for the (albeit widely supported) social justice protests taking place across the country.

 

“I still don't want to touch stuff after other people. I can do everything right, or within suggested guidelines, and that doesn't mean that the person who went through the vegetable bin at the store in front of me has and that makes me not want to go out.” – Ipsos Community Member

 

COVID-19 hasn't gone away and there are large gatherings of people all over the country not really making any attempt at social distancing. It is very likely to spike in the next month leading to more illness, death, and economic damage.” – Ipsos Community Member 

 

Finances also remain a significant concern. According to the latest wave of the Ipsos Coronavirus Consumer Tracker, 28% of Americans rank the economic downturn as the #1 threat to the well-being of themselves and their families, topping health threats related to COVID-19. For many, surviving the economic impact means reprioritizing personal spending with a focus on paying down debt.

 

“I will pay off credit cards and set a budget. When I start working again I will spend less.” – Ipsos Community Member 

 

Sources: Ipsos Coronavirus Consumer Tracker, 6/8-6/9/20 (n=1113); Ipsos Syndicated Online Community Qualitative Tracker 5/21-5/26/20, 6/4-6/8/20

 

The Push to Create (Safe) Joy

As people continue to balance safety guidelines and other COVID-related disruptions with the desire to regain normalcy, the idea of creating ‘safe’ joy takes center stage for summer activities in 2020. From staying healthy to traveling to maintaining connections with friends and family, we see summertime plans reflect a desire to creatively adapt to the ‘new abnormal,’ with implications across a wide range of activities and behaviors.

How People Have or Plan to Create Joy This Summer

create joy

Source: Ipsos Syndicated Online Community Qualitative Tracker 5/29-6/1 (n = 807)
 

Keeping Up with Health and Wellness

Amid states re-opening, Americans are focused on their health and wellness efforts to get in shape for summer. Top social media words and hashtags associated with summertime health and wellness show consumers are looking to feel their best, even if they plan on staying home. At the same time, more people report they are walking as exercise and trying out online fitness classes to stay active, as compared to last spring and summer.

Top 30 Words: Summer Health & Wellness

summer health

Source: Synthesio 5/11-5/24/20, specific mentions relevant to summer within the Health & Wellness category in U.S., English only
 

Physical Activities Compared to Last Year

walking popular exercise

Source: Ipsos Syndicated Online Community Qualitative Tracker 5/29-6/1 (n = 807)
 

Enhancing Outdoor Spaces

Summer 2020 is all about enhancing spaces around the home. Consumers look to their backyard to make the most of the summer without travel. Additionally, backyards enable safe socially distant hangouts with friends and family, while taking up projects around the home and garden give people a goal and a channel to feel more productive.

backyard

Source: Ipsos Syndicated Online Community Qualitative Tracker 5/29-6/1 (n = 807)
nawlins
Source: Synthesio 5/11-5/24/20, specific mentions relevant to summer within the Home Life & Family category, U.S. English only

 

Road Tripping to Local Destinations 

Fear is driving summer travel plans this year, and those who do plan to travel will likely go closer and feel safer taking a car than a plane. From April to May, plans for driving within the US increased, in parallel with increased fear of international travel.

road tripping plans

Source: Ipsos Coronavirus Consumer Tracker, 5/28-5/29/20 (n=1113), 4/17-4/20/20 (n-1111)

 

Family plans are also evolving as restrictions lift. Top words in social conversation indicate originally scheduled plans are changing, causing many to stay home. Those who are making summer plans are focused around safety and togetherness.

30 words summer travel

Source: Synthesio, 5/11-5/24/20, specific mentions relevant summer within the Travel & Holidays category in U.S., English only
 

Do you have plans for your family this summer?

family plans

Source: Ipsos Syndicated Online Community Qualitative Tracker 5/29-6/1 (n = 807)
 

Social Topics to Watch Going into Summer 2020

As we continue to live through the collective turbulence and uncertainty brought on by COVID-19, here at Ipsos we will be keeping a close eye on the key topics and trends bubbling to the top of consumer conversations to help illuminate their ongoing impact on people and brands this summer.

what to watch

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The author(s)

  • Jennifer Torgersen Director, Ipsos Social Media Exchange
  • Jordan Massa Director, Ipsos Social Intelligence Analytics
  • Kaitlyn Click Community Manager, Ipsos Social Media Exchange

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