IBM IBV Sees Shift in Pandemic Consumer Attitude

Do you wonder how this pandemic is going to end? Or when. Or what the world will be like when it actually does or if it does, and how we will even know.

IBM quantum computing researcher

IBM’s Institute of Business Value (IBV), an IBM research group, was asking similar questions. It polled more than 18,000 U.S. adults in May and early June to understand how COVID-19 has affected their perspectives on topics that include remote work; the return to the workplace; where they want to live; how they want to shop; and more. 

IBV’s results are not exactly encouraging. For example, it found that consumers are preparing themselves for more permanent changes in behavior because of the pandemic and their fears about future outbreaks. Two of every three respondents said they were concerned about a second wave of COVID-19 hitting later in 2020. More than 60 percent said they believed there were likely to be more global pandemic events like COVID-19 in the future.

The research also suggests that organizations in every industry must pay attention to their customers’ shifting preferences. And they must respond with agility: by adopting technology, rethinking processes and, most importantly, addressing culture in order to emerge from the pandemic smarter and stronger, say the researchers.

DancingDinosaur is not nearly as methodical as the researchers at IBV. But having spent nearly four months being bombarded with solicitations for almost anything that can be squeezed into Zoom I have been able to form some opinions. The first is how ingenious and creative a lot of marketers have become in repackaging their previously tedious messages for what has almost overnight emerged as a virtual Zoom-like world. 

For decades DancingDinosaur has dodged meetings like a plague, or maybe a pandemic. But some have managed to tease me into attending a few virtual zooms, which, surprisingly, were informative and useful and concise. When the pandemic is finally done and gone, marketers may never get DancingDinosaur into a convention center or seminar venue again. Not when it is so easy to click in and, as importantly, how convenient it is to click leave the meeting.

IBV’s research appears to have uncovered some interesting behaviors. For instance, nearly one in five urban residents indicated they would definitely relocate or would consider moving to suburban or rural areas as a result of the pandemic. Fewer than 1 in 10 indicated they now found living in an urban area more appealing. 

That makes sense. If DancingDinosaur was quarantined in a 1 bedroom or studio condo for weeks or months he’d never do that again and hope you wouldn’t either, no matter how tempting the restaurants might have been when you could actually go into them.

Another set of IBV data points bodes badly for combating climate change. Young climate change activist Greta Thunberg, please forgive them. The researchers found 25 percent of respondents said they would use their personal vehicles exclusively as their mode of transport, and an additional 17 percent said they’d use them more than before. A full 60 percent of those who want to use a personal vehicle but don’t own one said they would buy one. The remainder in this group said they would rent a vehicle until they felt safe using shared mobility.

IBV also looked at work-from-home. Before COVID-19 containment measures went into effect, less than 11% of respondents worked from home. As of June 4, that percentage had grown to more than 45%. What’s more, 81% of respondents—up from 75% in April—indicated they want to continue working remotely at least some of the time.  More than half—61%—would like this to become their primary way of working. 

DancingDinosaur spent his entire career working from home. It can be a great life. Of course,  I didn’t have to educate my children at home or on short notice with minimal guidance. They went to public school and summer camp. When they came home from school each day, it made a great excuse for me to take a cookie break with them. I do miss not having my cookie break partners. They married great guys and, if I set any kind of proper example, they now have cookie breaks with them instead.

Alan Radding is DancingDinosaur, a veteran information technology analyst, writer, and ghost-writer still working from home in the Boston area. Follow DancingDinosaur on Twitter, @mainframeblog, and see more of his work at http://technologywriter.com/ 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: