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A time for hope: Consumers’ outlook brightens despite headwinds

Company: PricewaterhouseCoopers Česká republika, s.r.o.

When we last polled consumers, reflected in our June 2021 Global Consumer Insights Pulse Survey, we found that the pandemic had spurred many respondents to become more digital, more local and more conscious of health and safety.

Fast-forward to September 2021, when we conducted our most recent research for our December 2021 Global Consumer Insights Survey. We surveyed 9,370 people in 26 territories or countries. What’s changed? With 76% of respondents reporting being at least partially vaccinated, consumers are planning to spend more, and they are seeing improvements in their lifestyle as employers allow new ways of working. Of course, some things never change: when it comes to shopping, price and convenience still matter most, even as other factors, such as sustainability, are increasingly on consumers’ minds.

Here are six of the most significant findings.

Vaccination status and flexible workstyle influence consumer optimism

  • Overall, 61% of respondents are optimistic about the future, and only 18% are not.
  • Vaccination against COVID-19 is a major driver of optimism. Sixty-six percent of vaccinated respondents are optimistic about the future, compared with 43% of unvaccinated respondents.
  • Optimism seems to be manifesting in spending, too. Respondents say they’ll spend more across categories over the next six months, with 41% predicting increased spending on groceries, 33% on fashion, and 30% on health and beauty.
  • Flexible work also drives optimism. Survey respondents who work from home are 10 percentage points more optimistic than those who work away from home. And those who can work in a hybrid way are 9 percentage points more optimistic than those who are required to either be at home or in an office all of the time. 

Millennials, city dwellers, those working mostly from home or in a hybrid way, and those who are vaccinated are the most optimistic cohorts. Presumably, because optimism is partly tied to vaccination rates, the climbing global vaccination rate will bode well for consumer confidence heading into 2022.

It's particularly important for business leaders to note the factors influencing optimism that they can control or affect, such as flexible work and vaccination. Supportive workplace policies that facilitate health and well-being will not only help companies rewrite the social contract with their people but could also create a ripple effect of activity and spending that yield business benefits.

Impact of vaccination status on optimism for the future


66% At least partially vaccinated

43% Not Vaccinated

Not optimistic  

16% At least partially vaccinated

27% Not Vaccinated

Bases: At least partially vaccinated (7,123); not vaccinated (1,311); all respondents who are employed (7,047); working from home (2,738); working away from home (2,671); hybrid (2,988); non-hybrid (3,901). Hybrid means able to work in any location or at home all of the time. Note: 2% prefer not to say. Source: December 2021 PwC Global Consumer Insights Pulse Survey

More information here

Comments from PwC Czech Republic here (in Czech language only).

Tags: Finance | Human Resources | Health |

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