Four Drivers of Consumer Fear and Anxiety: Our Latest Article for Forbes
Fear and anxiety have become a key part of the societal fabric around the world as we deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Our Facing Fear research shows that these feelings are nothing new, and are influenced by four main drivers. Our CEO Rebecca Brooks covers these drivers for heightened anxiety and how this mindset is influencing consumer behavior on a broad level in her latest article for Forbes, titled “Four Key Drivers Of Fear And Anxiety In American Consumers.”
The Four Drivers are Economic, Political, Sociological, and Informational
From an economic standpoint, financial fear among consumers is very high, driven by factors resulting from the pandemic and an unknown economic future. Rebecca writes, “Our research showed that personal finances and the cost of health care ranked as the number one concern for 14% of respondents.”
Politics are top of mind for most, particularly due to the U.S. election this year. “According to Pew Research, only 17% of Americans say that they trust the government to do what is right… And only 17% of respondents agreed that ‘people in power care about what is best for society.’”
When it comes to the sociological factor, the main concern is currently related to employment. This is due to the pandemic (record-breaking unemployment rates nationwide) and also the fact that when it comes to jobs: “Up to 25% — are at high risk of being automated.” The pandemic only added to the fear of job loss that already existed.
The informational factor shows that “Fifty-four percent of consumers want to be informed, but news stresses them out.” Our research found that the way people consume news directly affects their fear and anxiety levels, which in turn impacts their purchase patterns and overall confidence.
The Way Forward for Brands
- Acknowledge that your customers’ fears are a reality. Talk about fear with your customers and don’t leave it out of your market research and marketing efforts.
- Explore which social justice issues are of importance to the community you serve. It’s important to stay up to date on how people’s perceptions, sentiment and circumstances are changing.
- Display confidence and stability in a time of instability. You can do this by providing as much in-depth information as possible.
Rebecca concludes her article by saying that, “By understanding the forces underpinning feelings of fear — economic, political, sociological and informational — brands and companies can begin to address their audiences’ needs in an empathetic and thoughtful way.”
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.
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