Facing Fear: Understanding Anxious Consumers Report Released

Facing Fear Alter Agents Shopper Research Cover

Facing Fear: Understanding Anxious Consumers Report Released

We are pleased to release findings from our new white paper, titled “Facing Fear: Understanding Anxious Consumers.” The topic of fear has taken on a whole new meaning in the face of the COVID-19 global emergency, and this heightened anxiety can be a big driver for decision-making, consumer loyalty, and more. The research reveals existing, systemic consumer fears that were affecting behavior, even before the exacerbation caused by the current pandemic.


“The COVID-19 global emergency has disrupted life and heightened anxiety across the world, but fear is not new to consumers,” said Alter Agents CEO Rebecca Brooks. “Our new research found that U.S. consumers were already acting from a place of worry and concern. Brands must continue to track these important emotions and sentiments so that they can adapt to this reality to maintain authentic, trusting and engaged relationships with consumers.”


Key Findings:

  • The top three universal fears among consumers, no matter the generation, included healthcare, personal finances, and climate change.
  • Nearly three-quarters felt confident when it came to their own lives and immediate situations. That’s a sharp contrast with their views on macro-level issues facing society, with just 27% believing that the world is safe.
  • There is a gender confidence gap, particularly among parents. For example, dads rate themselves 24% points higher than moms on teh statement, “I am a confident person.”
  • Across indices of political, personal, and financial fear, there was a large disparity in fear levels that was dependent on media consumption habits. For example, New York Times readers were much more likely to have high fears surrounding politics (41%) than Fox News consumers (17%). 

The new paper has been published to help brands and companies understand the underlying societal trends shaping how U.S. consumers feel, and uncover their role in boosting morale and positive activity during a challenging time. 


Download Your Copy


About the Methodology

The study is based on a quantitative survey conducted in November and December 2019 among approximately 1,000 U.S. adults, plus 100 respondents each from African American, Asian American, and Hispanic/Latino groups to better represent the views of people of color in the aggregate data.


Our Facing Fear Research Series

Drawing on world-class analysis from researchers at Alter Agents and commentary by thought leaders in economics, political science, and psychology, this reporting series is a must-read to understand the consumer mindset entering the second year of the pandemic.

Facing Fear: Understanding Anxious Consumers
Facing Fear: Consumer Anxiety in 2020
Facing Fear: Overcoming Consumer Anxiety

Interested in having thoughtful research like this conducted to answer your business challenges?


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