From new situation to habituation:
6 months of living with
COVID-19 in Switzerland
Since 2020’s COVID-19 outbreak and the resulting global lockdown, our world has been impacted not only in terms of health but also ways of working, interactions between individuals, transportation and lifestyle, including mental and personal wellbeing. Although Switzerland has been spared to a certain extent regarding the health and economic impact from COVID-19 compared to its French and Italian neighbors, the Helvetic confederation has been also rattled like most of the world.
Traditional economical figures such as household consumption or export of goods and services provide a fair assessment of economic health, while COVID-19 health related reporting will reflect the management of the crisis and its evolution. Both figures are very important to address daily challenges and to understand where Switzerland stands on its economy and health situation. This will also allow us to monitor how the situation has been evolving since the beginning of the pandemic although these figures offer a limited view of the underlying factors that could trigger a potential recovery of the Swiss market dynamic and its economy.
Most importantly, actors of the Swiss economy (whether they are public institutions or companies across all sectors) have three questions in mind: Will the recovery happen, and if so when? And in any case, what does an actor need to do in the short and longer terms to be in the most advantageous possible position?
The future of Switzerland’s economy stability will heavily depend on the return to a certain normal. As we accept that a return to a pre COVID-19 world will take more time than expected, and that the present normalcy will be around for a while, we commonly call it the New Normal. Whether we are already in the New Normal and what defines it are obviously corollary questions that one can have.
That’s why since April 2020 after the establishment of lockdown in most countries worldwide, MetrixLab has been running a New Normal consumer insight tracking program across 17 markets, including Switzerland, to understand how households and consumers have been coping with the crisis, and how they foresee the future. The data is capturing consumer needs regarding different aspects of their life as well as their expectations towards the brands and institutions that serve and talk to them every day.
Will the recovery happen and if so when will it be?
Monitoring and understanding consumers’ state of mind in terms of how much their life has returned to normal or how long it will take are precious data as brands and institutions navigate uncertainty.
This whitepaper focuses on the Swiss results of MetrixLab’s Understanding the New Normal consumer insight tracking program and aims to provide some guidance and insight to help navigate this complex period. It provides brands and institutions with stake in Switzerland with a first review of the last 6 months of tracker data in Switzerland.
This paper will highlight the key learnings we extracted from the first 6 months of the tracker data, followed by an exploration of Swiss confidence status and the mood and feelings of Swiss consumers before concluding with their expectations towards brands and institutions.
Is the timing right for a first review of the Understanding the New Normal tracker data?
A colleague of mine recently said that we should wait to have 12 months of historical data to run a first meta learning for Switzerland. A few days before, another colleague was sure that it would have been already interesting to do over the summer. And if I had asked someone else, just before Christmas would had been the ideal timing. Obviously, there isn’t an ideal timing to run a first review of Understanding the New Normal Tracker data. We are now looking at 6 months of data. Interestingly, 6 months of history provide a good confidence level when looking at the data as it is long enough to be out of the ‘outlier period’ (the quarantine living phase of the first months of the pandemic) due to the novelty of the situation. The first months of the tracker remain highly important and valid data point as they constitute the baseline to track a return to normal.
The month of October of this year of living with COVID-19 and its restrictions appears to be an ideal period for a first review of the Understanding the New Normal Tracker data in Switzerland as it is right after the summer break and before the festive season. Obviously this has always been the case for October, but as we are looking specifically at confidence of the Swiss in getting back to normal as well as their mood and feelings, a post summer break review will better reflect a society rested and should provide a fair picture of its state of mind, confidence and mood. October is also the month that sees the rise of marketing, commercial and communication efforts for the upcoming festive seasons that start with Halloween. Therefore, having a first understanding of how Swiss consumers foresee the near future, what they are looking forward to as well as identifying their expectations towards brands and institutions can be of a great help to shape marketing, branding and sales activities for the up-coming festive season.
Whatever the timing should be, stepping back for a moment to reflect on the key learnings we can draw for Switzerland based on MetrixLab’s data and after 6 unprecedent months in our society is already of a great value. We acknowledge that whatever the current picture is, it will probably change in the near future in light of the recent surge of COVID-19 cases across Europe.
What have we learned from 6 months of Understanding the New Normal Tracker in Switzerland?