The emotional state with which we face de-escalation and what it means for companies

The phases of de-escalation gradually take us out of the confinement with which we fought against the advance of the coronavirus and bring us closer to the so-called new normality, which will become the dominant trend that will mark our lives and our consumption patterns in the next few months, although we are still not very clear about what that means.

In all these stages, emotions are a decisive and determining element, which mark how we react to things and how we connect with others and with brands. Therefore, understanding the emotional state during these moments is key. But what are the emotions that are dominating the de-escalation?

One of the latest Gfk pills, which has been analyzing how Spanish consumers are reacting to the coronavirus and the context it imposes, has focused on the emotional side. In general, the Gfk study indicates that the mood of the Spanish “is improving” compared to how they felt at the beginning of the crisis.

Comparing the emotional state of the first studies (at the beginning of the crisis) with the most recent, the “extreme” emotions have been attenuated. Consumers show less tendency to anger, panic or anguish, although these emotions are still 33% of those that the Spanish declare. Every time, yes, the emotions that the study calls “calmer” are increasing.

Although in general the negative ones are still the dominant ones (they are 63% of the emotional mentions), the positive ones have risen to 39% and the citizens who assure that they are completely calm are already 7%, the highest figure of the period. If those who are in a relative way are added, the data is positioned in 39% of the respondents (compared to 36% in the previous wave). The “relatively calm” is, in fact, the third most common emotional state among Spaniards, with 27%. It surpasses those who are sad (22%), distressed (22%), confused (19%) and angry (14%).

Even so, the most common emotions are insecurity (32% admits insecure) and nervousness (28%).

Emotions and reactions

Therefore, although the main emotions are still negative and highly marked by the uncertainty of the context, the emotional situation has been improving and has given way to greater tranquility. This has consequences for companies, since the decisions that consumers will make and the elements on which they will concentrate their consumption habits will be different in a different emotional environment.

The example of supermarkets and the products that were sweeping sales at the beginning of the crisis, during and now is a perfect way to see how these emotional swings affect purchasing decisions.

At first, the empty aisles of certain essential products were a symbol of the panic into which citizens had plunged. The situation was scary and the Spaniards focused on buying those things that they believed were essential and basic (shopping for toilet paper was a perfect example).

After that first stage, what was sold out were the products associated with the so-called comfort food, which were used as an element to calm anxiety and sadness. And, now, there are no large out-of-stock products in supermarkets, or empty shelves. The products have shown the cycles of consumer psychology.

The consumption that will drive these emotions

What will we consume in this new phase and which companies must adjust their presence in the market to the new emotional state of the population?

Returning to the data of the Gfk study, consumers point out (the wave was in the first days of May, when the autonomous communities and provinces that have since done so have not yet entered phase one) that they want to see their relatives and loved ones. That is his main desire.

But also, citizens want to be outdoors and walk, much more than they want to go shopping or go out to dinner. And, curiously, interest in domestic tourism is being established as an upward element. Citizens dream of traveling, but they will go to destinations in their own country.

Therefore, the emotional state makes it clear that what consumers are interested in right now is everything that brings them closer to theirs and makes them feel better.