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4 Things Quarantined Young Consumers Are Interested In Right Now

YPulse is carefully monitoring COVID-19’s impact on young consumers and how brands can respond. We’ll be providing new data and insights for you weekly to cope with the crisis, including special reports, exclusive data on Coronavirus and the next generations, and actionable insights on what brands need to be doing now.

You can access everything here on our young consumers and COVID-19 hub.


The majority of young consumers are staying home—and our stats show four things they’re interested in getting from brands right now…

With 84% of 13-39-year-olds telling YPulse they are currently self-quarantining, there are a plethora of new needs and priorities that they’re managing because of their new norm.  Our exclusive COVID-19 research has been exploring the ways that the pandemic is impacting their lives, including how they’re surviving quarantine, and how brands can best reach them during this time. We’ve found that 68% feel like they need to stock up on food and supplies at home—and their time in isolation is absolutely fueling trends and booms across industries. Bread baking is causing flour shortages, and increased gaming is making Nintendo Switches fly off shelves. In other words, they are looking for specific things to get them through quarantine, and there are many things that brands can do to help. Here are four things those brands should know that quarantined young consumers are interested in right now:

Over half are interested in products and services that make their lives easier during this time.

When we asked young consumers about what marketing is appropriate during COVID-19, over half of 13-39-year-olds told us that brands creating products and services to make life easier during the Coronavirus is appropriate right now—making it the top type of marketing that they’re open to during this crisis. Making their lives easier can mean many things, of course. But it’s clear that they’re open to brands stepping in and addressing their quarantine-related problems, whether it’s providing entertainment, helping them find the items they need, or even reliable information. The biggest message here is for brands who are afraid to take any action during this time: as quarantine stretches on, providing assistance in whatever way you can is a move you need to make.

Two in five would appreciate easy recipes to cook at home.

One major way to make their lives easier right now is helping them cook at home, which 63% of quarantined young consumers say they are doing more of because of COVID-19.  Our most recent COVID-19 data shows that 67% have bought frozen/canned food or dry goods because of the pandemic, 66% have bought dairy products, and 58% have bought meat or seafood—and now they have to figure out what to do with them. While we’ve found that Gen Z and especially were interested in cooking pre-COVID, they might be facing a different challenge now that they have fewer choices, few supplies, and a tighter budget. Whether helping them navigate cooking with what they have on hand, or providing guidance for cooking for whoever they’re quarantined with, many are looking for the help.

Three in five would like to buy products directly from brands online.

Shopping in stores is becoming more frightening as time goes by, with many cities now requiring that everyone don masks in public. (And over half of quarantined young consumers already feel anxious because of the Coronavirus.) Their shopping behavior has of course changed in the wake of quarantines. In fact, 43% of quarantined young consumers tell us that COVID-19 has impacted where they shop, and 49% say they have cut back on shopping in stores. When they do get go to shop in person, many are facing empty shelves, as panic buying continues to deplete stocks. Shopping online is the natural solution, and even two weeks ago, a third of quarantined Gen Z and Millennials were already telling us they would be shopping online MORE because of COVID-19.  Now our latest data shows that the majority would be interested in buying products directly from brands online (instead of at stores or big box sites). The opportunity to pivot to direct to consumer is clear in a time when product scarcity and public outings are both major issues.

A third are interested in taking online lessons to learn a new skill, and nearly as many would use an educational app or site.

We know that young consumers are flocking to streaming services and YouTube during the quarantine as they try to stay entertained (and sane). But it’s not just mindless reality shows that they want to distract them (though they are definitely tuning in to those in droves). When we ask 13-39-year-olds what they would be interested in trying because of Coronavirus quarantines, 34% tell us that they are interested in taking online lessons to learn a new skill, and 30% are interested in using an educational app or site. Interestingly, non-students are just as interested in these things as students. With a lot of time on their hands, many are wondering if they can emerge from quarantines with some new knowledge, or a hobby that will last beyond the pandemic.