ANALYSIS: How Australians are responding to COVID-19

By Grant Dusting, Social Researcher, McCrindle

The year 2020 signaled the beginning of not only an iconic new year, but an iconic new decade. The year that began with so much promise and expectation will now forever be marked by words like ‘uncertainty’, ‘volatility’, and ‘unprecedented’.

It’s very likely this year’s word of the year will be ‘social distancing’.The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has stopped social gatherings, halted the economy and significantly disrupted the normal rhythms of life as we knew it.

McCrindle has just released fresh research exploring how everyday Australians are responding to COVID-19.

This nationally representative survey of 1,015 Australians was conducted in partnership with our panel partner Cint. Here are three things we learned.

  1. COVID-19 is experienced in the aisles of the grocery store

There has been widespread coverage over the last few weeks about people bulk buying goods.

Our research reveals only a small proportion of Australians (6%) have been emptying our supermarket shelves buying much more than they need.

Most have bought the same amount as usual (42%) or have bought a bit more than they needed (30%).

Three in four Aussies are willing to refrain from panic buying to ensure that everyone has access to necessities, including the vulnerable in their community.

  1. Isolation brings challenges but also opportunities

We are battening down the hatches, with nearly half of Australians believing things won’t be back to normal for more than 6 months.

In addition to the extra hand-washing, sanitizing and social distancing, Australians expect to be less physically active (43%) and more bored (38%).

Three in ten expect to feel more lonely, and this is especially a concern for the younger generations (Gen Y & Gen Z) who are more used to being socially active.

While this isolation can be challenging, over a third of Australians (36%) see it as an opportunity to do more of what they enjoy, including picking up creative hobbies such as reading and baking, and new online learning opportunities.

  1. Aussies believe working from home will be the new normal

Australians are generally very positive towards a more digital future both in education and the workplace.

More than half are extremely or very positive about the increased use of online learning in vocational training, university, workplaces and in schools. 45% of Australians strongly or somewhat believe working from home will become the new normal, with a similar number believing they will be productive working from home.

Remote working won’t be suitable for everyone; three in ten Aussies would find working from home challenging, a reality felt by anyone juggling kids at home or other household members working from home too.

More information can be found in our free report and upcoming webinar.

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