Women’s Lifestyles Changed Dramatically as a Result of the Pandemic, According to Landmark Meredith Study

“The Post-Normal Consumer: Navigating an Uncertain Present & Future” Provides Guidance for Brands on Reaching Consumers in Post-Pandemic World

From Member Andy Borinstein, VP, Content Strategy & Insights, Meredith Corporation

For American women, the impact of COVID-19 has been profound, though the pandemic has not affected all women in the same way. A new landmark Meredith Corporation study titled “The Post-Normal Consumer: Navigating an Uncertain Present & Future” looks at women’s differing reactions and the lasting implications of their current and future interests and plans.

As the leading media organization reaching more than 120 million women across every stage and day of their lives, Meredith partnered with Joshua Ackerman, Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan, to conduct a series of online bulletin boards, panel studies and a national survey that led to the creation of seven unique consumer segments reflecting the spectrum of pandemic attitudes, behaviors and sentiments.

The results revealed divergent changes in women’s interests, lifestyles, values and shopping behaviors in response to the pandemic, as well as common themes, including an overall decline in mental health, a tighter focus on savings, and what they desire from brands and advertisers to help address the problems women are facing in their own lives and in society more broadly. Brands clearly face the need for a targeted strategy in reaching different groups of consumers to be successful as we transition to a new level of normalcy.

Distinctly, seven out of 10 women will change their lifestyles post-pandemic with 24% planning major changes from the way they lived pre-pandemic. Additional highlights are summarized below.

Increased Focus on Financial Savings

  • 21% of women have burned through much of their savings during the pandemic, whereas 54% actually saved money.
  • 52% of women say the pandemic made them realize they should save more for unexpected circumstances; rates were higher among Millennials (55%) and Gen Z (57%).

Ecommerce to Remain Popular Post-Pandemic

  • 22% of women will continue to shop online post-pandemic, with the highest rates among Millennials (25%) and Gen Z (29%).
  • 77% of women are excited for their usual brands to become more available, though 58% say they will continue to purchase new brands they tried during the pandemic.

Women Seeking Positive Messages from Brands

  • Female consumers seek positive messages from brands, including advertising that focuses on how we are all united as Americans (78%) and how we all can emerge from the pandemic even stronger (68%).
  • The vast majority of female consumers are more interested in buying from companies that are implementing safety measures (90%) and that focus on the well-being of their employees (87%).
  • Female consumers are split on wanting to see advertising focused on the pandemic, with 49% opposed.

Physical Health Maintained While Mental Health Declined

  • 14% of women said their physical health declined during the pandemic, while 39% of women said their mental health declined during the pandemic, with about half experiencing symptoms of depression in the past two weeks (the rate was higher among Gen Z at 70% and Millennials at 52%).

Although common themes emerged, the study identified seven distinct segments of women, ranging from “Conservative Virus Skeptics,” whose lives have changed the least, to “Young & Vulnerables” and “Diverse and At-Risks,” whose lives have been affected the most by the pandemic.

The seven segments of female consumers identified in the study have been modeled onto Meredith’s database of consumers and are available for print and digital activation.

For more information about the study, please contact postnormalstudy@meredith.com.

 

 


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