Has disruption become the new normal?

On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak a global pandemic. Almost immediately, the pandemic rose to the top global concern in Ipsos’ What Worries the World poll.

The author(s)
  • Mike Colledge President, ESG Lead, Ipsos in Canada
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The pandemic remained the top issue for 17 months as the search for a vaccine got underway, health systems were overwhelmed and governments around the world took measures to stop the spread including mask mandates, restricting mobility, tightening borders, alongside closing schools and all but the most essential businesses.

With the pandemic came rising physical and mental health concerns as well as personal financial worries for many. This increased anxiety coupled with a fear of the unknown led to a decline in citizen and consumer sentiment (the Ipsos Disruption Barometer) in four of the G-7 countries (from December 19 to December 20). Great Britain, Germany and Italy bucked this trend. The G-7 shift in overall sentiment was -4%

Fast forward a year later to the end of 2021, with vaccine distribution well under way and economic worries waning, thanks in part to record government spending and supports, sentiment became more positive in six of the seven countries. The G-7 shift in overall sentiment was +14%. Government approval ratings rose as the pandemic seemed to be moving into the rear-view mirror. Businesses were largely seen to have acted responsibly by empathetically communicating with their clients and stakeholders to help them manage through the crisis.

Today, the Ipsos Disruption Barometer has declined in all 7 of the G-7 countries. The G-7 shift in overall sentiment is -17%. Why?

Ipsos | inflation

In 2020, the pandemic was an overwhelmingly unifying issue. It gave governments, businesses, and citizens a common focus and a reason to work together. By 2021, people across the G-7 saw that progress on the economy and in the areas of health and public safety could be made and made fast. In short, the pandemic reaffirmed the saying “if there is a will, there is a way.” At the time, the progress and the success were seen by some as a blueprint that would finally lead to progress on other critical issues such as climate change.

But 2022 did not go according to plan.

Today’s issue set is far more varied across countries and across generations. We have war in Ukraine, rising inflation, and increased concern over climate change all entering into the social/political conversation that prior to 2022 was largely dominated by a coronavirus. As a result, there is no one issue at the heart of this year’s decline in sentiment. But there are many possible answers.

Ipsos | inflation | Feeling the pressure disruption Ipsos | inflation

Whatever the reason(s), 2022 has seen a marked decline in sentiment and changed the tone of the conversation that businesses and governments are having with their stakeholders. Leaders may look back to 2020 as a year when things were relatively easy to manage.

Table of content

  1. Introduction
  2. Feeling the pressure: Context
  3. Understanding human psychology during the polycrisis
  4. Has disruption become the new normal?
  5. The Indian consumer's response to inflation
  6. Turkey: Re-designing adaptation in the shadow of hyperinflation
  7. Brazil: Downsizing VS price rises- making the right choice
  8. Malaysia: Between money well spent and life well lived
  9. Understanding Argentina
  10.  France: The end of recklessness


The Ipsos Disruption Barometer measures citizen and consumer sentiment monthly across 27 countries. It was developed prior to the pandemic in recognition of the emergence of a new socioeconomic reality – a convergence of the citizen and the consumer in economic and purchase behaviours and related socio-political stability. What happens in our social and economic environment shifts citizen and consumer sentiment, changes our wants, needs and expectations of the organisations that serve us/sell to us

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The author(s)
  • Mike Colledge President, ESG Lead, Ipsos in Canada