Context is Critical for Brands Responding to COVID-19

With many countries re-opening into what appears to be a long-term recessionary environment, companies are naturally looking to make comparisons to past times of economic challenge. But the lessons of the past may not be a perfect fit for today.

“To make side-by-side comparisons between what happened just over a decade ago and today’s circumstances would be overly simplistic,” noted Scott McKenzie, Nielsen’s Global Intelligence Leader in a recent article.

“Treat it as a helpful baseline and know that adjustments to consumer demands this time around need to be made with far more speed and fervour than we have ever considered.”

The challenges that people are facing during the current health emergency are, of course, unfamiliar and require new protocols and solutions. In some areas, progress was already underway before the virus hit, which enabled a smoother transition to the stay-at-home lifestyle than some might have expected.

Sizing the more macro changes that have played out this year is important as businesses recalibrate to changing consumer demand.

Click here to see just some of the ways the U.S. has changed since the last recession, for example in 2008 consumers spent US$3.75B online on consumer-packaged goods compared to USD$70B in 2020.