Our pandemic habits are sticking – and even accelerating

In less than five minutes of reading time we’ll give you all the data and context you need to get you up to speed on Ipsos’ latest wave of the Coronavirus Consumer Tracker.

The author(s)
  • Matt Carmichael What the Future editor and head of the Ipsos Trends and Foresight Lab
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Here’s what we know today from the Ipsos Coronavirus Consumer Tracker:

  • The mood of the nation has really stabilized, as measured by the IPAC, Ipsos’ measure of Americans’ feelings on the endemic. There’s been essentially no movement in the last few months as we settle into a 57%/43% split on improving vs. coping.
  • Cases of COVID have also stabilized at about 100,000 reported and “only” 325 dying per day.
  • About one in three say they are frequently wearing a mask indoors, while more than four in ten say they are infrequently doing so.
  • We really seem to have settled into our work routines with 26% working from home, an additional 18% hybrid and 56% working onsite.

Read on for data about: Pandemic-changed habits, inflation and fraud and more.

What’s sticking post-pandemic

Why we asked: There aren’t many bigger questions on our minds these days. 

What we found: Americans picked up a lot of new habits during the pandemic. Between 30% and 45% say they did things like start baking or cooking at home, getting take-out, eating healthier, investing differently and streaming entertainment. In a follow-up question to people who said they picked up new tricks, we asked if people are still doing them. And most of them seem to be sticking – with high levels also saying they’re doing them more.Pandemic habits

Inflation part one

Why we asked: It’s easy to forget how long we’ve been in inflationary times but it turns out we’ve been asking questions on the topic for more than a year now. That maybe shouldn’t be too surprising since we’ve now been asking about the pandemic for well over two years. Sigh. 

What we found: Anyway, there’s interesting data this wave. Those who say that their spending will increase is the lowest it has been in months, just 29%. And those who say their spending will decrease (27%) is the highest it has been in more than a year.

Where do we place the blame for inflation?

Why we asked: COVID-19 is less in the news. Supply chain issues seem to be, too, (with notable shortages of sriracha and tampons.) But interest rates are very much in the news.

What we found: High levels (60% to 80%+) of people report paying more for a wide variety of goods than the start of the year. When asked what’s contributing to higher prices, there was a 10-point jump (to 26%, 45% of Republicans) in people blaming the government since we asked about a year ago. A similar number blame supply chain issues. Inflation is still impacting our spending, too. 40% each said they would buy fewer products, buy cheaper products, and look for sales and promotions.

Government blame for inflationinflation cutbacks chart

How are we recognizing the month’s holidays?

Why we asked: It’s Pride month and also the new federal holiday of Juneteenth, which commemorates the day in 1865 when slaves in Galveston, Texas, were finally told that they had been emancipated two years prior.

What we found: Two thirds of Americans are doing nothing to recognize Pride month. 15% say they are supporting LGBTQ+ businesses in their community. About one in ten say they will attend a Pride parade or event, which are mostly back after pausing during the pandemic. The numbers for observing Juneteenth are similar.

How we are recognizing this month's holidaysWhere we stand on brands taking a stand

The fraud economy

Why we asked: It feels like every streaming service is overrun with shows about various frauds and fraudsters. How big of a deal is this, really?

What we found: About half of Americans say people have tried to scam them on the phone or the internet. One in four say they’ve had their credit card or banking information stolen, which kind of feels like a lot, yes? One in ten have had their Social Security number stolen, and about that many (13%) say they have had their identity stolen.

Many have been victims of fraud

What did the pandemic do to our psyche?

Why we asked: We asked about our memory, attention span, outlook on the future and attention we’re paying to news compared to before the pandemic. Ironically, your editor then spaced out on this question and forgot to report it in the last wave. So…

What we found: One in four say their memory is worse. One in five say their attention span is worse. People are more likely to be paying extra attention to national (29%) and local (30%) news than say they’re paying less attention (23% and 18% respectively). A depressing 45% say their outlook for the future has soured. Only 16% feel more confident about the future. Maybe they read the What the Future Earth issue’s introduction, but didn’t get all the way to the part where we talk about the solutions that exist today already!

impacts on our psyche from the pandemic

Signals

Here’s what we’re reading this week that has us thinking about the future.

  • Buy Now Pay Later says later? (via WSJ)
  • Data teleportation shows potential for quantum things (via NYT)
  • Monkeypox can be contained… if we hurry (via Wired)
  • Saudi Arabia wants to slow aging (via MIT!)

For complete toplines for all waves, please see the full data and methodology.

The author(s)
  • Matt Carmichael What the Future editor and head of the Ipsos Trends and Foresight Lab

Society