Global consumers are now less concerned than they were in April about the coronavirus situation in their own country, although more people expect the outbreak to take six months or longer to overcome and optimism has decreased in many countries about the global situation.

That is according to insights firm GlobalWebIndex, which has been tracking consumer sentiment around the world in a series of research waves that initially examined the immediate impact of the crisis on consumers, but most recently looked ahead to a post-pandemic future.

Conducted in 20 countries between May 19-26, the latest wave 4 research collated responses from more than 17,140 internet users aged 16 to 64 in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, the Philippines, Poland, Romania, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, the UK and the USA.

It found that, since April, concern about coronavirus in one’s own country has fallen almost everywhere, with the steepest declines in Australia, Canada and New Zealand (all -13 points), as well as China (-10 points).

There were also notable falls in some of the European countries hardest hit by the outbreak, including Italy (-8 points), France (-6) and the UK (-5), although overall levels of concern remained high at about 75% or more.

Brazil, where 92% of consumers expressed concern about their national situation, was the only country to see levels of concern increase since April, giving rise to fears that Latin America could become the next epicentre of the virus.

While it is good news that consumers in nearly all major markets are now less concerned than they were, people in almost every single country expect their own national situation to take six months or longer to overcome.

This is true even in markets which are furthest along the perceived recovery path, such as China (+6 points since April), Australia (+9) and New Zealand (+3).

In addition, optimism about overcoming the national situation has remained largely unchanged since April in most countries – apart from Brazil – but that doesn’t extend to people’s views about the global situation. Optimism on that score has declined in many countries, including Australia, India, Italy and the UK.

Elsewhere across the 20 countries surveyed, just over half of consumers said they would return to the shops, when allowed, either immediately, very quickly, or quite quickly, and this increased to 59% of consumers in the UK.

However, the research also suggested that behaviours adopted during the pandemic could become new consumer habits – for example, almost one in three said they intend to shop online more frequently once the outbreak is over.

Sourced from GlobalWebIndex; additional content by WARC staff