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We had the pleasure of connecting with Lauren Xandra, Vice President, National Research Group, about their recent study fielded April 2020, The Great Refresh. This study covers three key pivots consumers are experiencing in the midst of COVID-19: how we think, interact and support one another.
Crisis Presents a Revived Appreciation for What Matters
Professionals are responding to this unprecedented pause on life as an opportunity to better themselves.
“In the face of immense tragedy and disruption, ~9 in 10 working Americans say COVID-19 is a good time to reflect on what’s important to them,” Xandra said. “And reflection leads to reinvention, with people getting in touch with their goals and becoming more creative about who they want to be.”
The three biggest shifts in terms of how people are spending their time are among the 92% of consumers focusing more on wellness to serve their need for productivity and control; 89% of consumers enjoying more entertainment when they need a mental escape, and 83% are reaching out and connecting more to one another. A key proof point that these behaviors may stick on the other side of the curve is how much value consumers are finding in their experiences, with more than 8 in 10 consumers saying they’re developing habits now that will have a positive experience on their lives moving forward.
In fact, the number one behavioral change people say is having a positive impact in their lives, that they hope will stick, is changed communication, led by talking to loved ones more frequently. According to the study, the virus as the common enemy has brought us all closer together and will hopefully persist into how we interact with each other in the future. There has been a refocus, prioritizing relationships and communication that has spilled into workplace dynamics.
Xandra speaks to how the shared challenge of balancing competing work and home life responsibilities is creating a culture where serendipity is more appreciated than ever — with business meetings often featuring co-workers’ kids or whimsical Snap lenses.
“Ironically, perhaps we can live more holistically and even be more real in digital environments than in the physical world,” Xandra says.
Technology is Connecting us to our Passions and Purpose
In this unique moment, the technology industry is reframing its unquestionable power as a force for good in society. The vast majority – 2 in 3 – working Americans are excited about how tech can accelerate positive trends they want to see on the other side of the curve, from a more productive, efficient society to innovations in healthcare. “With this innovation, consumers are realizing the benefits of sharing our most personal information not to be targeted by advertising, but rather in return for enhanced health and safety,” Xandra shares.
Further, technology is playing an absolutely essential role in us being able to work from home, maintain relationships and cope with the crisis. The longer the situation lasts, the more pervasive quickly rising solutions will be that enable us to go deeper with our passions and purpose – from co-viewing entertainment experiences to e-learning.
“COVID-19 is accelerating our digital transformation through the way we think, work and support one another,” Xandra said. “Understanding changing mindsets and behaviors – and anticipating what may persist on the other side – is paramount for all businesses, making it both an exciting and important time to be in the research industry.”
RELATED: Combatting Post-COVID Anxiety in the Workplace
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Lauren Xandra is Vice President at National Research Group, a leading global insights and strategy firm at the intersection of entertainment and technology, where she guides the firm’s strategic growth and marketing. She has authored breakthrough consumer studies on innovations such as AR/VR, 5G and AI, featured in Forbes, Fast Company, AdAge and more. Lauren is Co-Founder of Women in STEAM, a non-profit catalyzing new ways of thinking, working and creating through STEM + arts programming, mentorship and training. She holds a BA from NYU Gallatin in Immersive Media and an MA from the University of Oxford in History of Art & Visual Culture.