Consumer Behavior Monitor: The outlook for the travel industry is bleak

These bad prospects are not necessarily due to the government’s advice not to travel abroad. Many Dutch people put their travel plans on hold. Things look more positive for brands and retailers in food and gifts. The Dutch spend more on this.

As concerns and uncertainty are also increasing, brands are also becoming more relevant again.

Young people have an increasingly difficult time

We succeeded: the increase in the number of infections has turned into a decrease! Yet this week the cabinet has intensified the partial lockdown and the concerns that the Dutch have have not yet subsided. Concerns about an economic crisis and the physical health of loved ones remain among 60% of the Dutch population. It is striking that young people in particular are increasingly concerned. Not only in terms of health, but also financially and economically. In addition, young people are increasingly struggling with the limitations of the corona crisis. For example, about three-quarters of young people have difficulty with limiting social contacts, more than half with limited opportunities for sports and recreation and 40% of young people have difficulty enjoying themselves.

Rob Revet, brand strategist at FNDMNTL and expert panel member (top right of photo): “It is striking that in the first corona wave, consumers immediately spent more time on hobbies and online entertainment, and not now. While the need for entertainment has not diminished. Perhaps consumers are now tired of Netflix and the game console. Opportunities for brands that offer different entertainment. The cultural sector could now also do much more with streaming performances, for example. “

People are increasingly sticking to the basic measures

The risk of contamination remains high, so adhering to the measures is crucial now. That penny turns out to have fallen well: 75% of the Dutch say they stay at home as much as possible, 85% keep a distance of 1.5 meters and there is also considerable support for wearing a mouth mask and is growing steadily. In mid-October, 80% of Dutch people wore a mouth mask where recommended, now 84% say they do. Especially among the elderly, this measure can count on great support: 91% of them wear a mouth mask.

Travel industry remains in dire straits, gifts and food on the rise

With the holidays and Christmas holidays approaching, some of the new measures seemed to be falling raw on consumers’ roofs. For example, the appeal not to book or make trips abroad. However, the Consumer Behavior Monitor shows that the Dutch plan much less trips. 52% of consumers have already postponed planning and booking travel and a staggering 84% spend less on it. Moreover, 75% of the Dutch indicate that they are already staying at home this winter. The travel industry therefore has a dark Christmas ahead and the period after it remains very uncertain.

Other branches show a positive development. We are sending more online gifts again and more money is still being spent on food than before the corona crisis. With the holidays approaching, you can expect this trend to continue for a while. Especially because the winter sports for many Dutch people is now canceled and the large online retailers are urging to order gifts for the holidays early due to the crowds they expect in the coming weeks.

Gijs de Beus, strategist at Friends & Foes and member of the expert panel: ‘The holidays are also coming up in advertising. The first Christmas commercials have already been broadcast in England. The question is how brands will respond to the current situation. Research by System1 shows that the first commercials that explicitly explain the consequences of corona are doing less well. From their test method, a commercial with a dressed goat emerges as the provisional winner. A clear signal that we need some lightheartedness. “

Brands can return a sense of control through their risk-reducing function

One of the goals of the Consumer Behavior Monitor is to conduct a deeper analysis of the relevance and role of brands during a crisis. Specifically, this concerns how the concerns people have during a crisis and the extent to which they experience control influence their choice of brand. During the first corona wave, it turned out that people who are worried and experience less control find brands more relevant. This means that brands then weigh more heavily in making purchasing decisions compared to other brand characteristics such as quality and price. We also see this effect in the second corona wave, according to a new analysis by VU University Amsterdam. This shows that brands have a risk-reducing function and can give people a sense of control again.

It is therefore relevant for brands to respond now to feelings of safety and trust

Noud Schartman, PhD candidate at VU University Amsterdam and Validators and member of the expert panel (top center in photo): ‘It is therefore relevant for brands to respond to feelings of safety and trust now. Brands that have a stronger bond with consumers now have an edge here. Online supermarket Picnic and Rabobank have sensed this well by introducing Picnic Pay together. Consumers store their Maestro debit card in their Picnic account and can then pay for their online shopping in one click. If the pilot goes well, this method will be rolled out nationwide. People feel safe when paying, and because they choose to have their groceries delivered to their home, so they don’t have to leave the door unnecessarily. ‘


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