MRI-Simmons Study Reveals New COVID-19 Consumer Segments

New report provides insight into the attitudes and behaviors of ‘Nervous’ and ‘Accepting’ personality types

NEW YORK, April 21, 2020 -- MRI-Simmons, the essential consumer truth set, today announced the release of its COVID-19 Consumer Insights Study, providing in-depth analysis of consumer behaviors and attitudes resulting from the COVID-19 crisis. Unlike other studies, the COVID-19 Consumer Insights Study will be fused to MRI-Simmons’ nationally representative datasets, providing marketers and media with deeper profiling capabilities across 60,000 consumer elements, including hundreds of psychographics, product categories and thousands of brands.

Among its many findings, the study reveals two consumer segments that have emerged as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic (‘Nervous’ and ‘Accepting’).


Demographics

One-third of Americans make up the 'Nervous' segment and feel the world is forever altered by COVID-19. These consumers skew female, have a median age of 46, and are more likely to be liberal. In comparison, two-thirds of consumers fall into the ‘Accepting’ segment, and believe that “what will be, will be.” These consumers skew male, have a median age of 47, and are more likely to be conservative.


Psychographics

Compared to total adults, consumers in the ‘Nervous’ segment are at least 1.2x more likely to feel that recent health news increased their anxiety, that social distancing is making them depressed, and that COVID-19 will change their behaviors permanently.

Feelings around Anxiety & Change
(% agree completely/somewhat)
March-April 2020
Source: MRI-Simmons COVID-19 Study
Adults 18+ Accepting Nervous
COVID-19 will change the world as we know it 84% 81% 91%
I am going to be more cautious about what I do and how I do it moving forward 80% 75% 91%
I expect there will be more epidemics / pandemics in the future 80% 77% 86%
Recent health news has increased my anxiety 61% 51% 81%
COVID-19 has changed the way I will act permanently 60% 52% 76%
I need to stop following the news so closely because it’s making me anxious 47% 44% 53%
Social distancing is making me depressed 44% 38% 55%

The Nervous segment is a group of consumers who are emotionally the hardest hit by the pandemic and are least likely to go back to their old ways post COVID-19”, said Karen Ramspacher, SVP Innovation and Insights at MRI-Simmons. “In fact, ninety-one percent say they will be a lot more cautious in what they do and how they do it, whereas a majority of the Accepting segment (fifty-eight percent) feel they will bounce back and will ‘go right back to living the way I did.’ This will have major, ongoing implications for the media and brands vying for their attention and loyalty going forward.


Media Attitudes & Consumption

The political leanings of these ‘Nervous’ and ‘Accepting’ consumer segments is apparent from their opinions on government and media handling of the pandemic. Fewer ‘Nervous’ consumers feel that mitigation measures are an overreaction and are more likely to distrust the administration's ability to handle epidemics like COVID-19.

Government & Media Reaction
(% agree completely/somewhat)
March-April 2020
Source: MRI-Simmons COVID-19 Study
Adults 18+ Accepting Nervous
This administration has done a good job dealing with COVID-19 58% 62% 49%
I don’t trust this administration to handle epidemics of this nature 52% 49% 58%
The media and government are overreacting about the seriousness of COVID-19 32% 36% 24%
Forcing people to social distance and stay at home is an overreaction 25% 27% 21%

Broadcast and cable news are the top sources that Americans turn to for COVID-19 information. Consumers in the ‘Nervous’ segment turn to websites/apps for local TV news, national and local papers and non-news sites 1.3x more than the average American. Those in the ‘Nervous’ segment also use Twitter 1.2x more than the average American.


To read the full COVID-19 Consumer Insights report, please visit: mrisimmons.com/reports/covid-19-consumer-insights-report/

About the COVID-19 Consumer Insights Study

The MRI-Simmons COVID-19 Consumer Insights Study explores attitudes and behaviors related to the pandemic, revealing two consumer segments that have emerged as a result of the crisis. Among its many findings, the study delves into the impact COVID-19 has had on product purchases and intent, delayed, postponed and cancelled activities, media usage and preferences by category and platform, and much more. Fielded between 3/20/20 and 4/2/20, the study included 2,500 nationally representative completes among adults age eighteen and older. Final data was weighted and projected to US population for tabulation and will be fused to MRI-Simmons’ national studies for deeper profiling.


About MRI-Simmons

MRI-Simmons is the leading provider of insights on the American consumer. With thousands of attitudinal and behavioral data points, gathered through ongoing surveys and passive measurement, MRI-Simmons empowers advertisers, agencies and media companies with deeper insights into the “why” behind consumer behavior.

MRI-Simmons combines best-practice survey methodologies with an innovative technology platform and advanced data visualizations. MRI’s Survey of the American Consumer® is the industry standard for magazine audience ratings. In parallel, the company has been at the forefront of innovation, significantly accelerating the time to insights for brand builders, strategists, planners and sales regardless of their data acumen.

Launched as a joint venture in 2019, MRI-Simmons is co-owned by GfK and SymphonyAI Group, with GfK as the majority partner. To learn more, visit mrisimmons.com, or follow @MRISimmons on Twitter.


Media Contact

Matt Cumello
Senior Director, Marketing
press.ms@mrisimmons.com