Wave 2 of Kantar’s COVID-19 Barometer Finds Financial Uncertainty Outweighs Health Concerns for Consumers

By Erik Oster 

Last week, Kantar released wave 2 of its COVID-19 barometer, a survey analyzing the consumer impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The survey of more than 30,000 consumers across over 50 markets from March 27-30 found that the amount of respondents around the world saying that the situation had impacted their day-to-day lives rose to 52%, up from 39% in wave 1 of Kantar’s COVID-19 Barometer.

An increase in concern over the pandemic was especially apparent in the U.S., where concern levels rose by 21% to 79%, as well as the U.K., where it jumped 23% points to 82%. Overall, consumers were more worried about financial concerns than health concerns. 68% of respondents said the situation called for more proactive financial planning, up 6% from wave 1, while 60% reported being concerned about the ability of the economy to recover. By comparison, half of respondents said they were concerned about getting sick, up from 45% in wave 1 of the barometer.


Those concerns appear to be caused by the very real financial impact of the pandemic. Overall, 39% of respondents said that COVID-19 had already impacted their household income, with another 32% saying they anticipated it to in the future.

Millennials appear to be the hardest hit financially by the impact of the pandemic. 48% of respondents aged 18-34 said they’d already felt an impact on their household’s income, and a further 30% said they anticipated such an impact in the future.

Comparatively, only 23% of respondents over 55 said they’d felt such an impact, with a further 31% saying they anticipated it in the future.

Consumers appear to expect companies to play a larger role than at earlier stages of the pandemic. 47% of respondents expected companies to support hospitals during the crisis (up from 41% in wave 1). 39% also said companies should be making themselves available to governments, an increase of 4% from wave 1.

31% of respondents said they wanted brands to help them with everyday life during the pandemic and that they’d remember how brands behave now after the pandemic is over. The vast majority of consumers don’t think brands should avoid advertising, with only 8% agreeing brands should stop running ads.

As people seek to stay informed of the latest developments, news consumption is up. Just over a third of respondents (34%) said being prepared and staying well informed was a paramount concern, turning to both news sources and government websites for such information. 54% of respondents said they saw nationwide news outlets, such as TV channels and newspapers, as a trustworthy source, a 2% increase from wave 1 of the study. 54% also said they saw government websites as trustworthy, a jump from 48% during wave 1 of the study.