The Emotional State of Consumers during COVID-19

Let’s make sure your strategy reflects where you users might be at right now.

November 19, 2020
Rory A. Carrillo
Principal Consultant

Psychological segmentation

As we continue to cope with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, individuals and businesses alike are looking for ways to stretch budgets as far as possible. Some data suggests that it’s actually an opportunistic time to maintain or even double down on marketing efforts during a recession; however, it’s safe to say that this isn’t just a recession. 

Regardless of how you might adjust your marketing spend, here are some interesting insights around psychological segments to consider for future planning. Accordingly the Marwick Marketing Agency, “the emotional state of consumers has become just as important as the usual demographics (i.e., age, income and so forth).” They’ve classified consumers into several different groups worth noting in your next set of campaigns: 

Frightened and vulnerable 

This segment are those who have taken the biggest hit financially. These customers are left feeling especially vulnerable. They react by eliminating any spending they deem unnecessary and will decrease or postpone other purchases. For these customers, focus on being helpful and mindful in your marketing and advertising efforts.

Cautiously optimistic 

This segment is more hopeful about long-term prospects, giving them a more positive outlook. They probably remain concerned about the short-term, however. They will try to cut costs where possible, saving as much as they can, but not to the same extent as the frightened and vulnerable customer. They comprise the largest psychological segment and represent a wide range of income levels. For this base, focus on gaining “share of mind” with your advertising and marketing. These are the type of consumers that will still be “window” shopping online, researching and getting ready to purchase when they feel comfortable.

Reasonably well-off 

This segment will probably seem mostly unaffected by economic downturns. They are usually confident in their ability to endure difficult times. Compared to other groups, their level of consumption remains fairly steady, though they might become more particular about their purchases. This group usually consists of those in the top 5% income bracket, but also includes those who feel secure about their finances, even if less than wealthy. These customers will spend more time researching and searching for the best offers. They understand they hold a slight upper hand when it comes to purchasing during a downturn.


This segment appears unconcerned about economic downturns. Typically, they consider it business as usual. If they change their behavior at all, it usually involves delaying significant purchases. Generally speaking, they are younger urbanites who will spend their money on experiences rather than possessions. Unless impacted by unemployment, they typically won’t change their pattern of consumption.

These are only some of the challenges in the COVID-19 era that require all of us to explore new ways of thinking and make sure we really understand our audiences. 

Read the full article on Forbes: Marketing During An Economic Downturn