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Recap: How COVID-19 Has Impacted Consumers In The Carolinas

May 13, 2020 | Posted By: Connor Watkins

In this talk sponsored by Burr Forman McNair, you’ll see how this pandemic has affected the minds of your potential consumers – their thoughts on travel, dining out, overall concerns and more.


Our program this month was given by Fenton Overdyke, VP and Director of Research, and Peter LaMotte, Sr VP, of Chernoff Newman. From April 13 to April
18, they conducted a poll in the Carolinas of 500 participants per state. This poll is a snapshot, or benchmark for measuring changes on the impact
of the coronavirus for SC.

During the last global pandemic, the average home had no telephone. Today, communication is immediate through social media and news coverage. Opinions
in response to organizational practices are changing daily and unlike anything we have ever seen.

From education to working remotely, traveling and eating, we have all made some sort of change. The poll has been broken up by category below:

  1. Stress and worry of returning to normal: We must be considerate of consumers stress. Although there is not an environment of panic there is a large level of concern for things returning to normal. 73% of people are concerned for family’s general well-being.
  2. Impact on employment: There is stability in the workplace but 53% of people have had a change in employment status and 12% have lost a job. Of 4.5 M people 62% are confident in returning to work.
  3. Impact on Behavior: Consumers are evaluating what practices they will carry forward or leave behind. 96% are now practicing social distancing now and 70% will continue. 91% wash hands and 86% will continue People are spending time spring cleaning and with family more. 67% will cook at home more, 56% will stream movies rather than go to theatres and 41% will get food to go more often.
  4. Staying informed: 45% of people feel fairly accurate of the news concerning the seriousness of the pandemic. 84% follow the CDC, 75% National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease, 70% SC Health Dept, and 61% are following WHO.
  5. Impact on travel: 65% have canceled or postponed trips and 66% are not confident in taking a summer vacation. People will be changing travel plans to look closer to home for vacation destinations which will cause a change to in state marketing and advertising.
  6. Impact on education: Most people are very satisfied with remote learning. 79% feel overall communication is good, 76% feel good with the quality of online instruction being provided and 70% feel their children will be prepared for the next school year.
  7. Impact on food consumption: There are many changes for hospitality, food & beverage, and farming industries. While some people are not comfortable going into restaurants, changing things like providing disposable menus, and people not congregating at bars are things that have been communicated as steps to stay safe which has helped businesses. There is a general concern on the grocery supply; while many have about 2 weeks of supplies on hand there is a consensus that females are more concerned, families with teenagers, and lower income families may not need be able to get what they need.

We need to focus on the good that comes from this. Things have slowed down for some allowing people to reprioritize. Americans and focusing on their needs
more often that their wants and are spending more time with their families; we see people are jogging, playing together and riding bikes. Overall consumers
are equally concerned as they are confident that things will move forward but will not the same. They are embracing the new normal and are committed
to getting back to life. To find more statistics and follow up on future polls check https://chernoffnewman.com/news/chernoff-newman-insights-coronavirus/.


About The Speakers

Peter LaMotte is a seasoned communications executive, hailing originally from the South Carolina Lowcountry. Over the last two decades, Peter has developed
his expertise by working with clients all over the world. Prior to joining Chernoff Newman, Peter spent ten years in Washington, DC in the fields of
crisis and strategic communications. He also worked on some the highest profile public and governmental affairs issues in the last decade, including
support for foreign governments, Supreme Court litigation, government data breaches, and anti-trust litigations.

Fenton Overdyke uses his 20+ years of experience to lead the agency’s marketing research division. A skilled moderator and analyst, he is involved in all
phases of the research process from client consultation and methodology recommendation to analysis and reporting of findings. He’s relied on for his
unique ability to turn data into actionable insights.

He’s conducted research for clients like the University of South Carolina, SCPRT, the SC Department of Ag, and The SC Chamber of Commerce.