Many of us started 2021 with a lot of hope…highly effective and safe vaccines were arriving and were being distributed in increasingly wide circles.
Then came the variants.
The Delta variant, which spread widely in the summer and through the fall, was determined to be more aggressive with more contagion and illness even in children. After investigations, the vaccines were found to be effective against Delta. However, children and many adults were still not vaccinated.
With the winter holidays upon us came news of the Omicron variant. First discovered in South Africa and rapidly spreading globally.
The thought among many was “here we go again…” as unvaccinated populations remain vectors for variants to develop and spread, including the potential for ones which could evade current vaccine protection.
But is it? There’s no denying that many if not most are suffering from some level of “pandemic fatigue” and are tired of COVID driving or effecting their decision making. Still, the rise of a new and yet unknown variant as we prepared to gather for the holidays introduces a level of uncertainty into the economy.
In the October-November edition of the Freedonia Group National Online Consumer Survey (conducted October 16-November 5, 2021), 33% of respondents reported being very concerned about the Delta variant of COVID-19 and potential future variants. Another 42% reported being somewhat concerned about them. Only 11% said they were not concerned at all.
The concern is highest among people:
- age 35-39 – more than half are very concerned and a total of 86% are either somewhat or very concerned
- with children under 18 in their household – 78% were somewhat or very concerned compared to 71% of those who did not have children in their household. People with children aged 6-11 were most likely to report that they were very concerned (41%).
- who work from home more than usual because of the pandemic – 47% reported being very concerned and a total of 86% were either somewhat or very concerned. In contrast, among those who do not work from home more, only 25% were very concerned and a total of 70% were at least somewhat concerned.
This survey was conducted before the Omicron variant began to be reported in the news. The Freedonia Group has another edition of the survey being conducted now, which will reflect that news. Freedonia analysts will remain vigilant of changes in consumer sentiment as we wrap up 2021 and move into 2022.
For more information and discussion of opportunities, see The Freedonia Group’s extensive collection of off-the-shelf research, particularly our series studies in the Consumer Goods catalog. Freedonia Custom Research is also available for questions requiring tailored market intelligence.