Financial concerns dominate the Covid-19 world

People are still dealing with high levels of anxiety, a study shows.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently marked 500 days since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, with countries and companies continuing to deal with waves of infections and the resultant effect on people.

Data, insights and consulting company Kantar’s Covid-19 Barometer has been looking into people’s feelings and expectations around the world since the start of the pandemic.

The study shows the extreme impact in South Africa, with 74 percent of people surveyed have either personally contracted the virus or knowing someone who has.

Anxiety and caution remain very high, with a high 74 percent being deeply concerned about the situation (down from 80 percent in August 2020). The focus of their concern is primarily financial and not health related, with 59 percent concerned about their finances vs 34 percent concerned about their health.

In households with an income of R5,000 or less, 78 percent have experienced an impact and 28 percent have become unemployed as a direct result of the pandemic (vs. 13 percent of upper income households).

As a result, consumers are paying more attention to prices and products on promotion. The overall impact from a brand perspective is that more than half of South Africans are going out of their way to find the best prices and have tried different brands that they will continue to use post-pandemic.

An increase in overall hygiene remains the top behaviour that has increased, followed by an increase in social media app usage, with one in three saying they are using more social media now than in the past.

South Africans are also bringing their lives closer to home, focusing on their personal development, eating more healthily and shopping online. Interestingly, there was a high increase in the number of people who now classify themselves as students.

The research indicated that in countries with a more advanced vaccination programme, people have less anxiety, feel more secure and are more open to re-engaging with the world.