As world leaders enact strict containment efforts to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, people around the globe are learning to adjust to the strange realities of life amidst a pandemic. Calls for social distancing are widespread, and while companies across sectors are beginning to feel the impact of these behavioral shifts, implications for advertising budgets and the media industry at large remain unknown.  For brands striving to maintain relevance during this crisis, the notion of “customer-centricity” has never been more important.

Fluent Pulse: Audience Snapshot

As a leading performance marketing company, Fluent creates meaningful connections between brands and consumers. Interacting with nearly one million Americans daily across our owned and operated portfolio of sites, we are leveraging our real-time survey capabilities to help businesses and municipalities better understand and respond to shifts in consumer behavior during the coronavirus outbreak.

Since launching the Fluent Pulse survey on March 10, we’ve engaged with over two million American adults over the age of 18 to gauge their sentiments around the novel coronavirus. Below we take a closer look at the Fluent audience to gain insight into their general nervousness about the outbreak, as well their predictions for when life in America will go back to normal.  

Nervousness Around the Coronavirus Outbreak Continues to Increase

According to the latest survey results, 44% of Americans are nervous or very nervous about the COVID-19 outbreak. That number has increased drastically compared to just 27% of Americans reporting the same sentiment nearly three weeks prior.

COVID-19 Nervousness Graph

While nervousness trended downward over the weekend, feelings of anxiety and panic continued to mount as we entered into a week Surgeon General Jerome Adams warned would be a “nationalized version of devastating tragedies such as the strike on Pearl Harbor and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks,”  This uptick in nervousness measured at the beginning of the week was most notable among millennials, Gen X, and Americans over 75.

Amidst Disruption, Americans Make Predictions for a Return to Normalcy

In a Fox News “virtual town hall” event at the White House on March 24, President Trump remarked that he would love to have “churches packed” and the economy open again by Easter. With the U.S. death toll surpassing 12,000 a mere three weeks later, Americans don’t believe life is going back to normal any time soon – and certainly not by the upcoming holiday this Sunday.

Whether being placed on leave, receiving a reduction in hours, or being laid off from their jobs, 44% of Americans have experienced income disruption as a direct result of COVID-19. For those facing a change in employment status and the hardships that may come along with it, it is likely difficult to imagine a reality beyond the current crisis.

Return to Normalcy Chart

When asked to predict when life in the U.S. will go back to normal, most Americans (36%) believe it will take over 60 days, with 1 in 5 people ruling out the possibility of “normal” altogether. Though millennials rank among the middle of the pack in terms of overall nervousness – they are neither the least nor most worried – this cohort is most likely to question whether life will go back to normal at all. 

While some of the oldest members of Gen Z are set to graduate into a possible recession, this age group remains cautiously optimistic in their predictions for a return to normalcy – 10% of Gen Zers believe life will go back to normal in less than two weeks, compared to 4% of baby boomers.

Check out fluentpulse.com/covid-19/ for weekly updates on the impact of COVID-19 in America.


Methodology: Data was collected from U.S. adults between March 10 and April 5, 2020 via Fluent’s portfolio of owned and operated media properties. Results are specific to the Fluent audience, and not reflective of the general US population.