How Gen Z is Reacting to COVID-19 & 22 Ways Brands Can Take Action Right Now

Fuse surveyed 1,000 members of the older Gen Z cohort to identify how they are reacting to the COVID-19 pandemic. With everyone’s health and safety the top priority, we first wanted to gauge how Gen Z is feeling – physically, mentally, and emotionally. We also sought information about how their daily habits have changed, including their behavior as consumers. And with that survey data, as well as conversations with our clients, we’ve built a list of ways brands can take action today – to engage consumers right now or to plan for a big post-pandemic marketing push. 



Mental Health

More than two-thirds of young adults surveyed felt that the pandemic has increased their anxiety and/or depression due to the unknown,” social distancing, and self-isolation. 

  • 26% Have felt increased anxiety due to the unknown 

  • 26% Have experienced both increased anxiety and depression 

  • 15% Have increased depression due to social distancing and self-isolation



Daily Habits That Have Increased

Most young adults have increased their consumption of social media. Other habits that have also seen significant increases during this pandemic include getting in touch with friends and loved onesstreaming video content, and cooking. 

  • 80% Have increased their social media use 

  • 55% Have been more frequently getting in touch with friends and family

  • 40% Have been cooking more 

  • 31% Have been working out more frequently

  • 28% Are shopping/buying online more

  • 26% Have started a new hobby 



Brands’ Pandemic Response

Gen Z has a positive outlook about companies that are adapting to the current reality.

  • 68% Like that companies are supporting public health efforts

  • 39% Approve of companies being transparent about their business affairs

  • 31% Enjoy that companies are continuing to push out “normal” content (unrelated to the pandemic)



22 Ways Brands Can Take Action Right Nowto Engage Consumers or Plan for a Big Post-PandemicPush

One notable thing that is clear from our survey is that consumers are eager to return to social situations. Here is a list of things a brand can do today to engage their customers or prepare for the return to normal.

  1. Order promo items to get ahead of the supplier bottleneck that will come post-pandemic

  2. Update and implement new social media strategies – organic and paid

  3. Build a social media campaign to drive fans back in-store as soon as possible

  4. Refresh social media or other assets with a new style guide

  5. Design or refresh brand identity system and create a brand guidelines document

  6. Develop campaign concepts that can lay the groundwork for the future

  7. Execute naming of brands, products, etc.

  8. Build a bank of creative assets (evergreen or for an upcoming campaign)

  9. Plan a re-opening in-store event

  10. Create digitally led brand ambassador activations

  11. Execute an insights program to learn more than ever about your target market

  12. Build a campus strategy and recruit campus brand ambassadors for Back-to-School Fall ‘20

  13. Build the next POS for retail activations

  14. Execute an opt-in sampling program (sign up online and receive samples)

  15. Develop new consumer engagement ideas that incorporate social distancing

  16. Identify new opportunities with digital partners never previously considered

  17. Develop a social media strategy using archival content

  18. Consider partnerships with “at home” fitness companies

  19. Develop fun and creative social media content that features the brand, while integrating math, science, or other “home school” lessons for kids and parents

  20. Promote the ways the brand is “pitching in” during COVID-19

  21. Execute an alternative product sampling program by way of direct mail, sampling through Amazon, and using influencers

  22. Develop unexpected “how to” content



Stay Safe, Stay Healthy

Like many of you, we remain optimistic that this too shall pass. We will return to normal – maybe a new normal, but a normal nonetheless. Until then, stay safe, stay healthy, and let’s help each other.

Please contact us for more information about this survey or about how your brand can reach teens and young adults – pandemic or not.