In multiple conversations with our clients during this time, we have sought to advise regarding the question which is on a lot of minds at the moment: How are consumers and citizens responding to the sweeping societal changes created by the coronavirus? And in turn how does this affect respondents in online and digital market research?
It would be futile to try to argue, that respondents and their attitudes, behaviours and actions are not affected. But some topics and indicators will be affected to varying degrees. Some of these are obvious: Respondent-reported news media consumption will likely be on the rise across demographics, as the public tries to keep itself up to date on the current developments. Likewise, consumers will increasingly respond to and seek information on products, that are relevant to them under the current circumstances. But other behaviour will likely stay the same. Advertisers taking advantage of lower advertising costs will drive increased awareness to their brand and product.
It is important to make it clear, that all brands, businesses and other organizations will be navigating in a society and commercial space that is affected by this coronavirus for the foreseeable future. As a business that is curious about consumer and citizen trends, would now be the appropriate time to undertake online research? Perhaps, but only you can really answer that question. As a rule, data that is up to date and current will best inform decision making in the current market.
As a buyer of insights and online data you need to be aware of the following in these times:
• Results will be different now than they would have been a month ago. This cannot simply be regarded as a bias but will be a reflection of the true perceptions of members of the public.
• Methodological precautions can be taken but needs to take the context and aims of the study into account. If you’re in doubt whether this is the relevant way to proceed in relation to your project, do not hesitate to contact your contact person at Userneeds.
• Societal changes caused by coronavirus appeared seemingly out of the blue, but the ramifications will persist. Businesses and consumers will not simply pivot back to the pre-corona “normal”.
Can surveys be a corona-free zone? To a certain extent it is possible to instruct respondents of this methodological wish. However, the purpose that informs this instruction needs to be very clear, which also applies to the instruction itself. The instruction needs to frame the questions in such a way, that all respondents understand it uniformly.