Monitor consumer behavior: Christmas in jeans and baggy sweater?

Vaccination against the coronavirus does not appear to be self-evident for everyone: half of the Dutch people currently say ‘yes’ to vaccination. There is still a great opportunity for the government in the field of information and communication. The willingness to vaccinate is much lower among young people and women. Older people do experience the arrival of vaccines as good news: a large majority of the over-55s would like to be vaccinated. This week we see in the Monitor Consumer Behavior that concerns about the corona crisis are decreasing sharply within this group. However, there are still concerns for brands. Expenditure on fashion, shoes and accessories in particular is being postponed. Calm before the storm or are we celebrating Christmas this year in a baggy sweater and sweatpants?

Elderly: Light at the end of the corona tunnel

In recent months, all over the world has been working hard on corona vaccines. The first vaccines will be delivered this month. If all goes well, the Netherlands will start vaccinating the population at the beginning of January. This positive news seems to lead to a sigh of relief among Dutch people over 55 years of age. This week we have seen a sharp decline in concerns among the elderly. Older people are less concerned about their own health and that of their loved ones. Their financial worries are also diminishing. Moreover, the elderly now have less difficulty with the limited sports and recreational opportunities, the disability in social contact, being able to enjoy themselves and being able to go outside with less. Do the elderly see light at the end of the corona tunnel? It does seem like it: 55% of the elderly feel that they are in control of their own lives again, 11% more than in the previous measurement.

With decreasing concerns, largely driven by the elderly group, we also see a decrease in brand relevance

Noud Schartman, PhD candidate at VU University Amsterdam and Validators (top center of photo): “With the decreasing concerns, largely driven by the elderly group, we also see a decrease in brand relevance. This is fully in line with a study that my co-authors and I recently conducted and submitted for scientific publication. We conclude that when people are more concerned, brands become more important. Brands then act as a rock in the surf. With communications and actions that heed consumers’ concerns, brands can make the most of it. “

Opportunities for communication

The fact that elderly people experience the arrival of corona vaccines as good news is shown by their willingness to vaccinate. No fewer than 64% of them would like to be vaccinated in the coming period. That is considerably more than the average in the Netherlands. On average 52% of the Dutch want to be vaccinated, 18% certainly do not want this and 30% still have doubts about this. If the government wants to change this, advisers and campaigners will have to use all communication options to convince these doubting Dutch people to get vaccinated anyway. Not an easy task, given the different opinions in society. The campaign for the corona app also shows that it can be difficult to get everyone on board. The behavioral campaign for the CoronaMelder did not get off as well as hoped. Of the group of Dutch people who still hesitated to install the app in mid-October, only 20% were actually persuaded to do so.

Gijs de Beus, strategist at Friends & Foes (bottom center of photo): “The average product introduction in the supermarket receives more communication support than the CoronaMelder has received and that is saying something. So I’m curious how the government is going to encourage people to get vaccinated. We now know enough about how we can influence behavior. For example that of young people. A research group at Erasmus University recently shared a number of very concrete advice on this. Think of the use of influencers, emphasizing positive behavior and presenting the behavior as the social norm, which can also give young people their freedom more quickly. “

The Consumer Behavior Monitor shows that an effective behavioral campaign requires a targeted target group approach

After all, there are considerable differences in the willingness to vaccinate within society. It is clear that young people will have to be persuaded, they feel the least in favor of it. Only 43% of the group up to the age of 34 wants to be vaccinated. Women are also less willing to do this: 47% of women want a vaccination compared to 57% of men. There are also notable regional differences. Regions hit harder by the pandemic are more likely to get vaccinated. In Brabant and in the Randstad this willingness is 57%, while in the rest of the Netherlands 45% wants to be vaccinated. The biggest proponents of vaccination are found among men in the big cities. 7 out of 10 of them go for a vaccination.

Clothing sales seem to be stagnating

Despite increasing economic problems, it seems that our purchasing behavior is slowly returning to old, normal patterns. For example, in almost all product categories, consumers are less likely to postpone purchases than at the start of the pandemic. However, this does not apply to clothing. In the past two weeks, more consumers have been postponing buying clothes. At the same time, there has been a significant decrease in the number of consumers who spend money left on clothing (16% now and 24% in the previous measurement). Possibly the possible obligation to celebrate Christmas and New Years in a small circle does not motivate us to wear a new suit or dress. It is interesting to see whether this trend will continue for the next two weeks or whether people will start spending more in the run-up to the holidays.

In the past two weeks, more consumers have been postponing buying clothes

Rob Revet, brand strategist at FNDMNTL and expert panel member (top right of photo): “Brands and retailers in fashion, shoes and accessories are being hit hard by the corona crisis. We have less need to buy something new, because we spend a lot of time at home and also work from home. Brands can try to entice consumers to buy clothes again by reminding them of positive feelings to look good and to be appreciated by others. Doesn’t everyone enjoy hearing that you look good? Advertising and brand building work through emotion. Also in corona time. “

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