Polarization in Times of Quarantine: Which Way Will the Consumer’s Behavior Go?

Home-quarantine, self-isolation, lockdowns and other types of social distancing have been put in place in virtually every nation around the world. People are recommended, told or obliged to stay in their homes. In a matter of weeks, the global epidemic has transformed human behaviour and impacted social relations.

The phenomenon of polarization
The phenomenon of polarization, the division into two sharply contrasting groups, is boosted in times of crisis1, be it on a financial or political level. The same is valid for the current corona crisis. The New York Times2 predicts a rise of ‘Covidivorces’ based on the skyrocketed Chinese divorce rates now the crisis has eased. At the same time and in the other extreme, the newspaper expects a wave of “coronababies” and a new generation of “quaranteens” in 2033.

Another major polarization that is visible during today’s crisis is the “fit or fat” one. As nearly all social activities have been erased from the agenda, people are left with lots of spare time. One way to spent this free time is to binge-eat whilst binge-watching series and movies. Netflix, YouTube and other online entertainment providers have seen a rise in usage to the level that they decided to reduce streaming quality for at least the next month to prevent the internet collapsing under the strain of unprecedented usage due to the coronavirus pandemic3.

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