Social media analysis shows people around the world anxiously await the easing of COVID-19 lockdowns.
Whether they be people in the U.S. state of Florida returning to beaches, or business owners and shoppers easing back into the swing of things in Ghana or parts of Europe, citizens are starting to realise what they miss. So, what are people most looking forward to doing once the pandemic is declared over and quarantines, curfews, lockdowns, and social distancing measures are eased dramatically?
Kantar, one of the world’s top data and marketing research firms, used human and artificial intelligence to social media conversations around COVID-19 to identify what people are most looking forward to doing after lockdown.
You would think that seeing friends and family would be the most anticipated activity people are looking forward to. It is, in some respect, with ‘hanging out’ and doing things with our friends and family present in most of the top activities we identified. Going to visit, see and spend time with family and friends is also a category in its own right. However, it is not the top one. Here is a list of some of post-COVID-19’s most wanted activities:
What people want to do after lockdown is get some beauty therapy. This includes going to the barber, salon, getting our hair cut/dyed, having our nails or eyebrows done. As one user aptly summarised, “my eyebrows and nails have gone rogue”. So, if you own a hairdressing business or beauty salon, prepare for a boom in business once quarantine is over. We might also expect to see an increase in demand for beauty and make-up products. For brands looking to reconnect with consumers, it is going to be about demonstrating the value of the brand experience.
What activities are we looking forward to most after quarantine?
2. Eating out
“First thing I’m doing when this quarantine is over is going out to eat!”
Many people want to head straight to their favourite restaurant and feast on their favourite food. The meals people seem to be looking forward to most are sushi, Mexican, steaks, ribs, seafood and pizza. Some of the comments combined eating out with catching a movie. People are also looking forward to take-away food.
3. A night out
Clubs, pubs and alcoholic drinks brands will be pleased to hear that a night out is high on the list of post-COVID-19 activities. This could be on a date or with friends, but for many, it means having a post-COVID-19 party.
4. Festivals and gigs
With the festival season almost upon us, but with all the main events canceled, it’s no wonder that the public is craving live music. Experiencing one’s favourite band live again is high on the priority list. Some are already considering booking tickets and looking forward to tours. Expect any live shows and performances to be sold out, quickly.
5. No changes
Staying at home suits some people just fine. They quite enjoy being alone, reading, watching Netflix or playing video games and seem to be enjoying the same things during the lockdown as they would normally do… and will do the same after.
6. The outdoors
Going to the beach and enjoying the experience is among the activities that consumers crave, including reconnecting with nature. The thought of a prolonged quarantine is giving these people itchy feet. Beaches, national parks, and mountain resorts/lodges are prepared for many people taking road trips to escape the confines of their city abodes.
7. Retail therapy
Online shopping is still possible but not quite scratching the itch. The thought of shopping in retail outlets, trying on and buying new outfits, is far more appealing. This is good news for fashion retailers, with some of the sensory experience of traditional shopping being essential to fashion-conscious consumers.
After just a week, people are already starting to think about their next vacation. Many just want to jump on a plane or book a flight with no specific destination in mind. It is too early to say, but airlines could expect a significant bounce back as the desire for an escape, anywhere, will lead to heightened demand. Some people are already booking trips, giving them something to look forward to.
9. Sporting events
Watching or playing sports is also top of the list for some people. With loyal fan bases, most sports will undoubtedly experience a bounce back. What will be interesting to note is the impact of COVID-19 on sports participation. Time will tell if the quarantine has motivated more people to take up a sport. Some people also just want to get back to their routines, go to work or go to the gym… the things we perhaps took for granted.
One thing is for sure: Social media posts strongly indicate an inherent desire for social interaction. While people are resorting to video conference and video-calling apps, it is clear that social interactions are a key priority.
As we are likely near the end of lockdown, the marketing and communication industry has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create engaging, entertaining, brand-building and, above all, memorable content. The challenge will be to strike the right balance and stand out.