NewYork, 22.04.2020

US consumers split on brand behavior during COVID-19 crisis -- GfK

Almost 80% see companies as “force for good” – but nearly 70% notice some are “trying to take advantage”

 When it comes to providing help and support during the extraordinary Coronavirus crisis, US consumers cannot seem to decide if brands are uplifting the cause – or looking out for themselves.

Just-released research from GfK in the US shows that 78% of consumers agree (strongly or somewhat) that companies have been acting as a “force for good” as the country copes with COVID-19’s effects. But 68% also say that they have noticed companies “trying to take advantage” during the crisis.

Table 1. Perceptions of companies and COVID-19 


Strongly agree

Somewhat agree

Not much

Not at al

“Have noticed companies being a force for good”





“Have noticed companies trying to take advantage”





 In addition, 83% say that the way companies conduct themselves during the crisis will impact whether they do business with them in the future. This is up from 73% when GfK asked the same question in late March

As part of its Coronavirus Consumer Pulse global research, GfK interviewed a representative sample of 1,013 Americans during the week of April 10 to 14, 2020.    The new data also illustrate the degree to which US consumers may be willing to blame brands for problems experienced during the crisis. Focusing on the price “gouging” that some consumers have encountered with selected items – such as hand sanitizer – one-half (50%) blamed individuals who buy large quantities of products to resell at a much higher price.

But one-quarter (24%) of consumers said that the companies that make the items are responsible for price gouging, and around three in ten say large brick-and-mortar (26%) or online retailers (32%) are to blame.

GfK also discovered potentially negative perceptions of companies that are staying open during the crisis. Four in ten (40%) Americans say that companies that keep their doors open “in spite of everything” are putting their workers at risk, while just 30% view those companies as helpful.

GfK’s Coronavirus Consumer Pulse study covers 30 countries, allowing brands and marketers to #MasterTheCrisis by understanding consumer attitudes, behavior, purchase intent, media consumption, and more – both now and in the future. The research reveals changes in demand for goods and services, as well as which sectors and channels present risks or opportunities, so that companies can respond with confidence and come out of the crisis stronger, better positioned, and closer to consumers than before. 

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