Every Cloud has a Silverlining

After weeks of “light” lockdown, Germany went into a full lockdown again on December 16th. Advent, Christmas and even New Year’s Eve – hard to imagine how people would comply and deal with the limitations. That day, IKM started an online diary to observe changes in behavior, compliance, emotions, and observations of consumers in their close environment.

Christmas time is usually a very hectic time, one event chasing another, big Christmas parties and numerous get-togethers at Christmas markets, last minute shopping, stressful preparations for family gatherings and the holidays packed with seeing as many different parts of the family as possible. Yet, despite all the frustrations, loneliness and renunciations, lockdown during holiday season has had a few positive surprises and grounded many consumers, and they found different ways to make use of this “additional time”.

  • Time to slow down

Life seems more relaxed, less people around in public transportation or shops and less noise form traffic, planes, or neighbors partying. Moreover, readiness to help each other and contacts in the neighborhood has increased.

“I actually enjoyed slowing down”

“I enjoyed having more time for myself and not having to always plan something with other people”

  • Time with the family

While being stressed with home office and the need to take care of the children, homeschool and entertain them, being at home also offered new opportunities for families. More quality time together, and the opportunity to do things that would usually not be easily possible.

 “I potty trained my son because I was at home all the time”

  • Time to learn / teach new ways of communication

One of the key challenges of this lockdown was to spent time apart that is usually defined by spending it in big groups with close family members. Thus, new ways to communicate have been introduced to other family members and video chats (Facetime, WhatsApp, Zoom) allowed for at least some closeness. A tradition that will often be kept even after the lockdown.

“We love to do the video chat with grandma and will keep this a regular tradition in the future. It is nice to stay in touch like that, bringing us closer together”

  • Time spent in smaller groups

There is something positive about having to limit the number of people and spending time with smaller groups. It can actually be more fun and allow for deeper conversations. Also, it often gave a perfect excuse and allowed to change the habit of having the same people around every year.

“To be honest, I did NOT have to invite 1-2 people this year which was very convenient”

“On Christmas, we will do a video chat with my in-laws. My husband’s brothers celebrate with them. I am glad I don’t have to join them. It was always a very annoying obligatory date for me, and I prefer to sit at home and get cozy, which I can actually do this year”

  • Valuable time spent actively together

Board games had their comeback. Forgotten games and puzzles were found in the back of drawers. Families and group of friends revived playing board games and realized how this can be fun to actively spent time together.

“We played Monopoly almost until midnight, which we haven’t done for a long time. The five-year-old threw the dices and, that evening, the whole family enjoyed this special time together”

  • Time to learn new skills and hobbies

Some learned how to cook healthy meals or more elaborate meals. This was the time to try out new recipes and start baking. Some revived skills in sawing or creative hobbies that had become lost in memory due to a stressful everyday life. Meditation and yoga via YouTube helped to stay healthy.

“Together with a friend, I started painting stones and putting them outside in different places. It’s really a sort of exercise right now and puts a smile on many faces”

  • Time for creative outdoor activities

People spend a lot more time outdoors to meet with other family members and friends

to reduce the risk of infection. This winter, gardens, balconies, and parcs have been turned to a new use, providing space for outdoor meetings. Outdoor decoration was more extensive during Advent 2020. Fire pitch, heaters and infrared lamps have been installed, people met to grill marshmallows, drink mulled wine, and eat sausages.

“Our way to replace the Christmas markets and get into Christmas mood this year”

“We moved our social lives outdoors; this has become our new normality”

  • Different gift giving and time together as a gift

A common gift, often mentioned, were gift certificates for joint events, allowing them to look forward to a time when Corona is over and spend valuable time together. This has become so much more important than in the past. Also, more people gifted homemade or self-decorated gifts, as there was less opportunity for shopping, and more time available to create something.

“I received either outdoor experiences for the future, hopefully, or self-created gifts like a painted stone to hold the door”

Stay tuned – We will regularly post findings from this standing consumer community


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