Consumer Trends – The Economy Edition by Dynata

This TextileFuture Newsletter will present to you the latest Consumer Trends in an economic viable manner and is based upon the findings of Dynata, trusted partner for data-driven insights that power growth. The report strives many aspects and results during the pandemic.

We at TextileFuture trust that these findings bring some new facts and figures of the daily life to you. We wish you an excellent reading, and stay well!

Here starts the feature:

Consumer Trends – The Economy Edition by Dynata

Cover of the Report,captions and graphics gourtesy by dynata

Feelings of productivity have increased since the earlier days of the pandemic, with 70 % feeling they are just as – if not more – productive working from home compared to their usual workplace, an eight-point increase since our Global Consumer Trends COVID-19 Edition: The New Normal report was published in May. However, this finding isn’t consistent across all countries surveyed, with 50 % of people in China and 38 % of people in Japan feeling less productive working from home. Generationally, Gen Z reports the lowest levels of feeling productive at home at 36 %.

With many people feeling more productive working from home, will employees go back to the workplace, and – if so – when? Despite the reported increase in productivity, 69 % say they are likely to return to their workplace between September and November of 2020. China has the highest portion of participants anticipating returning in the short term with 68 % reporting it is “very” or “extremely” likely. Just under half of participants in France are also planning to return in the next three months (45 % reporting it is “very” or “extremely” likely), followed by the USA at 44 %; the Netherlands reported the lowest number of participants anticipating a return to the workplace, with just over a quarter reporting it “very” or “extremely” likely. This could produce a “trickle-down” economic impact for those businesses (restaurants, delis, etc.) and services (public transportation, ride share, gas stations, etc.) that rely on workday spending by commuters, riders and foot traffic. When asked to estimate their weekly workday costs while in the office, participants reported that they spend approximately USD 30 per week (or the local equivalent).

Despite the significant increase in people working from home and the high levels of productivity reported by remote workers, our survey revealed that work-life balance has decreased since the beginning of the pandemic. All countries and generations report a decrease in their work-life balance, a noticeable shift since we surveyed this topic in the Dynata Global Trends Report 2020, published in January, when half of our participants said they have an “extremely” or “very” good work-life balance. Today, that level has dropped by nine percentage points globally. Younger generations continue to report a better work-life balance, compared to other generations, though the number reporting it as “extremely” or “very” good has dropped in the nearly nine months since Dynata’s January report; in particular, Gen Z has declined 15 percentage points from 59 % in January to 44 % today. Baby Boomers are again the least satisfied with their work-life balance, reporting a decline in satisfaction from 47 % in January’s report to a current level of 36 %.


The gig economy is defined as an economy in which workers are paid only for the work they do, such as independent contractors employed by ridesharing, food delivery and similar industries. Despite an increase in awareness of the gig economy among all generations, fewer people today report working in it, across all age groups, compared to findings from the Dynata Global Trends Report 2020 in January. Gen X experienced the largest drop at 17 percentage points, followed by a 14-point decrease for Baby Boomers and Millennials and a decline of 11 percentage points with Gen Z.

Similar to the findings in January’s report, attitudes towards the gig economy remain mixed. Just over a third (35 %) agree that it is good for businesses since they don’t have to pay wages when no work is being performed, and a similar portion (37 %) agree that it is beneficial for workers to have the freedom and flexibility to work as much as it suits them.

Nevertheless, 15 % believe the gig economy is bad for businesses since they cannot accurately plan their workforces.

A much higher number (35 %) agree it is bad for workers who have fewer rights or employee benefits, with three in ten believing that companies can take advantage of global creative talent. In addition, concern persists for income of people in the gig economy being adversely affected, although this belief has stayed relatively stable since our last report.

Participants also remain divided on whether the gig economy is positive for the overall economy. In the gig economy model, tax receipts for governments shift from income tax to corporation tax, assuming companies make more profit and workers are paid less. One in five think it would be positive for the economy given increased corporation tax, while 18 % say it’s negative because of the income tax reduction.

Overall attitudes towards the gig economy have shifted slightly over the past year, with the pandemic appearing to have little impact. Approximately one in five (21 %) consider it a “bad thing” while 43 % say it is a “good thing,” just three percentage points less than findings from the Global

Trends Report 2020. The USA (51 %) is at the high end, a possible indication of continued momentum for the gig economy.


For those furloughed or laid off, only 51 % report they would be happy to return to their old job, while 49 % indicate they would like to start something new. Of that 49 %, working closer to home was the most common reason, cited by 36 %. Changing to a job with more aspirational qualities, such as having a more positive social impact, was the second most popular reason for trying something new at nearly 36 %. Considering a “more exciting” role was also a major factor, at 32 %.

Globally, of those seeking a new job, 22 % are learning a new trade skill, 20 % have taken up academic learning and 15 % are learning a new IT skill to upskill themselves for their next job. Sixty-three percent of employed participants reported finding the idea of being self-employed “extremely,” “very” or “somewhat” exciting, yet only 13 % have started a new business since the beginning of the pandemic, suggesting that intention doesn’t match action. China (78 %), the Netherlands (70 %) and the USA (68 %) have the highest percentages of people indicating a desire for self-employment, though this has decreased across all countries since January’s Dynata Global Trends Report 2020. The USA and France have the highest proportion of people starting new businesses during the pandemic at 21 % and 20 %, respectively. Younger people are most enthusiastic about being self-employed and are more likely to have taken the risk, with 25 % of Gen Z and 19 % oh  Millennials starting a new business during the pandemic, compared to just 8 % of Gen X and 3 % of Baby Boomers.

Sixty-three percent of employed participants reported
finding the idea of being self-employed “extremely,”
“very” or “somewhat” exciting, yet only 13% have started
a new business since the beginning of the pandemic,
suggesting that intention doesn’t match action. China
(78%), the Netherlands (70%) and the USA (68%) have
the highest percentages of people indicating a desire for
self-employment, though this has decreased across all
countries since January’s Dynata Global Trends Report 2020.

Globally, of those seeking a new job, 22% are learning a new trade skill, 20% have taken up academic learning and 15%
are learning a new IT skill to upskill themselves for their next job.


The USA and France have the highest proportion
of people starting new businesses during the pandemic
at 21% and 20%, respectively. Younger people are most
enthusiastic about being self-employed and are more
likely to have taken the risk, with 25% of Gen Z and 19% of
Millennials starting a new business during the pandemic,
compared to just 8% of Gen X and 3% of Baby Boomers.

We first explored the notion of the attention economy in January’s Global Trends Report 2020. First articulated by Herbert Simon, the renowned American economist, political scientist and cognitive psychologist, the attention economy is a model that proposes one’s attention could have worth and value in an information-rich world that prizes attracting attention. Today, where data has power, the attention economy has never been more relevant yet decreasing trust in companies and increasing consumer concerns surrounding data privacy pose a threat.

Interest in users being able to control and receive monetary reward for the sharing of personal details and attention data – where consumers go online, the brands they are interested in, and other behavioral details – remains relatively static since our January report, with Chinese, American and French consumers most interested. Given a choice between control or financial reward (or both), 83% selected money and 60 % selected control. Fear that their personal information would be misused persists, with 37 % indicating that they worry about the security of their data.

Sentiment towards the attention economy remains mixed, showing little shift since Dynata’s January report. When asked about the idea of monetising the sharing of personal details and attention data, 60 % of participants expressed they are at least “somewhat interested,” with 32 % being “extremely” or “very” interested. Interest in sharing personal details and attention data varies across countries.

Close to one fifth are in favour of the attention economy and one in four agreed that they would be more likely to give accurate personal information if they were rewarded for providing their data. However, a portion of the population – one-third – is skeptical as to whether the attention economy would prevent companies from sharing their data without permission. Fourteen percent believe some websites that are currently free would start charging them if companies couldn’t access their data for free. Yet, whether for or against the attention economy, the most important factor for consumers is feeling they are in control, with 39 % agreeing with the statement “I really want to have control over all this, it’s my data after all.”

When asked what interested participants about the attention economy, compensation still trumps control, with 43 % expressing interest in making money while gaining control, and 40 % answering they’re just interested in monetising their data. However, as in January just over a quarter found the notion of monetising their personal data and getting control as “good in theory but can’t imagine it happening.”

With 83 % interested because of the ability to monetize their data, what form of compensation will drive the most interest? When offered USD 1000 per annum, interest remained the same as it had without mentioning money, at 34 %. Lowering this amount to USD 250 per annum lowers interest by a third.


The effects of the Coronavirus pandemic on national economies over the past six months have been nearly catastrophic,with many countries facing recessions and unprecedented levels of national debt. Our findings show that concern for the economy is higher than concern for personal finances. Thirty-eight percent said they are “very” or “extremely”worried about their national economy. Consumers in Australia are most concerned, with close to half (49 %) “very” or“extremely” worried, followed by Japan at 48% and the USA at 47 %. The Chinese show the least concern about their national economy with only 12% “very” or “extremely” worried. In fact, concern for national economies has dropped in all countries surveyed since our March findings.

There are also differences in national economic concern by generation. Forty-three percent of Baby Boomers report they’re “very” or “extremely” worried for their national economy, the highest level of worry across all generations, while Gen Z is the least concerned at 25 %.

Participants were slightly more concerned for the world economy than their national economies, with 40 % “very” or “extremely” concerned. Again, consumers in Australia are most concerned about the world economy with 50 % “very” or “extremely” concerned, followed by Japan and the USA each at 46 %. Chinese consumers are least concerned about the world economy with 16 % not at all worried, the highest proportion out of all countries surveyed.


Over half of all participants globally (55 %) are concerned about their household’s financial situation, with 25 % “very” or “extremely” worried. Across all countries surveyed, eight in ten report some worry about their own household finances – with 25 % saying they are “extremely” or “very” worried – an overwhelming percentage, perhaps, highlighting the strain today’s economic conditions are having at the household level. Participants in Japan, France and Australia are the most concerned for their household’s financial situation, while participants in the Netherlands and the UK have the highest number of participants not at all concerned, likely due to government support available in these countries.

Compared to Dynata’s own prior research from the early days of the pandemic in Global Consumer Trends COVID-19 Edition: Understanding the Pandemic (March 2020), household financial concerns have lessened in most countries studied: USA (35 % were “very” or “extremely” worried in March vs. 31 % today), Canada (35 % vs. 24 %), the UK (35 % vs. 22 %), France (35 % vs. 30 %), Germany (25 % vs. 20 %), the Netherlands (22 % vs. 16 %), Australia (38 % vs. 30 %) and China (31 % vs. 18 %). The Japanese, however, have become more concerned about household finances since the beginning of the pandemic, with 21 % saying they are “very” or “extremely” worried in March, compared to 31 % today.

Of note, close to one third of Millennials are “very” or “extremely” worried about their household’s financial situation, the highest among all age groups, despite their optimistic outlook on personal finances. Baby Boomers are the least concerned about their household finances, with only 16 % “very” or “extremely” worried.

Prior to the pandemic, 54 % of participants globally reported their household having two or more sources of income, which decreased slightly by two percentage points to 52 % during the pandemic. Looking towards the future, more than 90 % of participants expect no change in the number of incomes in their household once the pandemic ends, an optimistic sign for the economy.


Globally, 17 % of participants across all countries surveyed feel “very” or “extremely” optimistic about their financial situation. China has the highest portion of consumers feeling “very” or “extremely” optimistic, at 30 %, followed by the USA at 28 % and Australia at 20 %. Japanese consumers are feeling the least positive, with only 5 % reported feeling “very” or “extremely” optimistic, a sign of low consumer confidence amid a long period of economic challenge in Japan, and perhaps deepened due to the cancellation of the Olympic games.

Millennials and Gen Z’ers are the most optimistic about their future financial situations, with 21 % and 20 %, respectively, reporting they are “very” or “extremely” optimistic about their financial situation. In contrast, Baby Boomers are least optimistic.

When asked to predict their personal financial prospects in five years’ time, 64 % of participants across all countries believe their finances will be the same or worse in 2025. Again, Gen Z and Millennials are the most optimistic about their future financial situations, at 52 % and 44 %, respectively; conversely, nearly a third (31 %) of Baby Boomers anticipate their financial situation to worsen in five years’ time.


For centuries, it’s been the belief that in a time of “plague” it’s wise to vacate the cities. It is intuitive that putting space between you and everyone else is healthier – and having outside space is good for mental health. In April, The Economist noted that, as COVID-19 spread across Europe, many Parisians fled “to secondary homes in the country or to parents in la province… repeated in New York, London and other cities too, as the wealthy escape to country homes in The Hamptons or Cornwall. Amid fears of disease, crowds and contamination, it is a natural instinct to seek refuge in pure air, coast and hills.” Mobile phone company, Orange, estimates that 1.2 million people, or a fifth of the population, left Paris during the initial week of lockdown in Spring 2020.

Data for New York City suggests between 5% and 8% have left since the start of the pandemic. The New York Times reported in May that 420000 people, or 5 % of the city’s population left in March and April alone; similarly, the UnitedStates Postal Service says 246000 people in the city filed a change of address card between March and the last week of August, double the number who did so in the same period last year. Nationwide, a Pew Research Study says 3 % of people across the US have moved out of cities.

This perceived phenomenon of “de-urbanization” has been well-documented, but how many people are truly leaving the cities? In interviewing people in France, UK, Australia and the USA who have moved between March 1st and September 1st, and people still living in New York, London, Paris and Sydney, Dynata sought to understand more about the patterns of population movement between city and rural locations.

Our research shows little evidence of permanent moves when comparing where people moved from and where they moved to these last few months. Looking at these findings, there does not appear to be an “exchange” (i.e. city people are moving to the country and country people moving to cities); rather, most are staying in the same environment. The massive flight from cities at the early stage of the pandemic lockdown may have been a temporary phenomenon.

In the USA, for example, 26 % of those we interviewed said they previously lived in the center of a city. Of those people, 73 % moved to another location also in the center of a city, and fully 83 % stayed in the city, either in the center or the edge of a city. Only 3 % of those previously in a city center moved to a rural location and 3 % to a town. Of note, 13 % of those in the process of moving now had no plans to do so during February, perhaps an indication that this intracity moving is opening up new, unplanned opportunities for relocation.

Looking closer at those living in four major cities – London, New York, Paris and Sydney – we see further indications of this intra-city trend: 45 % percent of those who live in the center of one of these cities expressed a desire to move elsewhere in the city center, while only 6 % indicated they want to move to a town and 5 % to a rural location. There are some variations by city, perhaps caused by geographic aspects of each city and country – how far away rural locations are, density of city centers, availability of residential options in the center and suburbs, or similar factors – but there does not appear to be a city to country exchange (in either direction), with most choosing to stay in the same environment.

Of all movers, 45 % indicated their move feels “temporary” – either as a stepping stone to the next new location or until they can return to a prior location. Just over half said it feels permanent, with Baby Boomers feeling most secure in the permanence of their move at 76 %.

In the four-country study of movers, when asked if COVID-19 was a factor in the decision to move, a third of those who have moved since March 1 said yes. Looking at city dwellers in the four major cities, 28 % of those with a desire to move attribute that desire/intent to the pandemic. That is the case for a third of those currently in the process of moving, and 40 % of those actively looking.

There does appear to be an income divide when considering, with wealthier people having more flexibility if they choose to move. Of those who moved, 40 % of those earning USD 100000+ moved in March and April, compared to 29 % of those earning less than USD 50000. Those in the highest income bracket are much more likely to say that COVID-19 was behind their move: 44 % of them said so, compared with 25 % and 27 % in the low and medium brackets.

While many direct and indirect/independent factors were considered, from working from home to stress about the lockdown and a desire for more living space, healthcare concerns were slightly more prevalent amongst the USD 100000+ cohort. Thirty percent expressed concern about Coronavirus infection for themselves or family members (30 % and 28 %, respectively) versus those in the lower income bracket (25 % and 20 %, respectively). Those in the highest income category were more likely to say the ability to work from home was a reason, 23 % compared to 18 % in the lowest (less than USD 50000) income category. All told, 11 factors were weighed by participants who had moved, none scoring higher than 30 % for either cohort.

This reflects the greater mobility options that higher income households have – they are more likely to have jobs which can be done from home.

Fifty-four percent of all Millennials interviewed are in the process of moving, followed by Gen X at 38 %, and at only 8 %. Interestingly, people who live in larger homes are more likely to be moving or planning to move than those who live in apartment units in large apartment buildings. This is perhaps due to a desire to reduce the overhead costs of maintaining a larger home during a trying economic time.

While the conditions brought on by COVID-19 – economic, health-wise and social – may have caused an increase in those moving, and wanting to, there is little evidence of “exodus” from cities in our research. Most moves were to a similar environment (within the same city, for example), perhaps to be closer to nearby family or move to a less crowded neighborhood where it is easier to socially distance. COVID-19 is having some impact on city populations, but there is little evidence in our data that it will reverse the trend of continued migration into cities, such as the 2018 United Nations report that 55% of the world’s population lives in cities and is projected to be 60 % by 2030 and 70 % by  2050.

In the early days and weeks of the pandemic, schools were closed and students – and their parents – suddenly found themselves in a full-time remote learning model. That rapid shift presented a myriad of challenges for students, parents and teachers – from curriculum changes to technology availability to parental time management. With this in mind, we chose to explore whether this new model of learning is our new normal for all countries and ages, or a temporary fix in the immediate scramble following the global lockdown during the early days of the pandemic.

Our results show that during the time our survey was “in field” (between September 2-19, 2020), close to three-quarters of participants with school-age children report their child has returned to the classroom full-time, a stark difference from the beginning of the pandemic. Half of parents with school-aged children in the UK report their children will be back in the classroom full-time within the next month, followed by China and Canada at 45 % and 32 %, respectively.

Participants with school-aged children in the USA anticipated a slower return with only 11 % predicting their children will return to the classroom in one month.

Despite many children moving to remote learning in the early stages of the pandemic, hoping to “flatten the curve” and prevent spread among schoolchildren, parents are predicting a return to fulltime school before the end of 2020. When asked whether participants would send their children back to school if they are reopened in the next three months, 71 % agreed, 15 % answered no and 15 % were unsure.

Five percent across all countries surveyed say their children will not return to the classroom at all and that homeschooling is permanent for their child, a small fraction, likely due to the time and resources involved with providing educational support at home, something many parents experienced during the pandemic.

Are parents or communities being too cautious in reopening schools or are they rushing children back too soon and will opening schools change the course of the pandemic?

What impact does remote learning have on worklife balance for parents, especially for women with young children?

What is the longterm viability of couples working full-time while also managing their children’s education?

Will remote learning increase the educational divide as affluentparents hire tutors and create educational “pods?”

It’s been well-documented that remote learning places a great deal of the burden on parents, challenging the worklife balance of educational responsibility versus earning an income to support one’s family. Our findings show that in Germany, Australia, Japan and China, responsibility for their children’s remote learning is taken on by a parent, and that younger children require more attention. Unsurprisingly, participants with 16-17-year old children have less involvement in overseeing remote learning, with 23 % saying their children take on their own learning. Women are more likely to be involved in learning at home; 75 % of women with children between 5-10 years old say they are responsible for their child’s remote learning; compared to 58 % of men; this changes to 42 % and 37 %, respectively, for parents of 16-17-year old children.

Looking at children between the ages of 18-19-years-old, it was believed that the shutdown effects of the pandemic would mean more colleges/universities offering online learning instead of on-campus classes. This, in turn, would lead many to put off their decision to pursue their education. There has been an observed effect on enrollments, with the added influence of economic concerns brought on by the pandemic, leading to at least one in seven parents of 18-19-year-olds saying these factors impacted their children’s decision to enroll in college or university. Yet, even with that in mind, two-thirds of participants with children aged 18-19-year-old are either currently enrolled or planning to begin or resume post-secondary education in September 2020 (with a quarter saying their children in this age bracket have no plans to do so).


The grocery sector, which had the lowest online expenditure index prior to the pandemic, experienced the largest growth in online shopping, with an increase of 23% across the nine countries surveyed. Consumers in China buy the greatest portion of their groceries online in this category; followed by the UK, the USA and Canada, with growth rates of 31 %, 28 % and 26 %, respectively.

Household items and personal care products had the second-largest growth in online spending, with both sectors increasing 22 % over the course of the pandemic.

Clothing and footwear also saw increases in online expenditure, with global growth rates of 19 % and 17 % since the pandemic. Canada (31 %) and the UK (29 %) saw the most growth in clothing spending online; these two countries also saw the most significant growth in online spending on footwear. The smallest gains in online shopping for clothing and footwear were reported in Japan, Germany, France and the Netherlands.

Before the pandemic, participants across all geographies reported that 37% of their spending in the sporting goods category took place online; this percentage has risen to 43 %, a 15 % growth. The largest increase in online commerce for sporting goods during the pandemic occurred in Canada and China showing growth rates of 26 % and 25 %, respectively.

Across all categories studied, home electronics experienced the least amount of growth in online expenditure, with an increase of only 14 % across the nine countries surveyed. As seen within the sporting goods category, this 14 % growth was driven by consumers in China and Canada, where online expenditure increased 27 % and 24 %, respectively; European countries, such as France, Germany and the Netherlands, saw the smallest growth in this category.

Our findings show little variance between gender or generation in propensity to buy online during the pandemic. There are, however, significant differences in the growth of online commerce versus offline at the country level. Across all consumer goods categories, China and Canada show consistently high online expenditure growth rates while France, Germany and the Netherlands experienced only incremental growth in online purchasing due to the pandemic, ranging from 1 % to 6 %. Overall, the increases in switching to online across all categories studied are perhaps surprisingly low.


According to the International Labor Organization, small to medium-sized enterprises contribute more than 50% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in most of the countries that are members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Unfortunately, it is small businesses that have been hit hardest by the economic effects of the pandemic, yet consumer support for small businesses remains strong. This is reflected in our results, where participants indicted that prior to the pandemic, 32 % reported they would always choose a small business over a large company when possible. Today, 53 % say they will favor small businesses after the pandemic, a 21-point increase, consistent with our previous findings on the “social obligation” to help small businesses, observed in the Dynata Global Consumer Trends COVID-19 Edition: The Reopening report (June 2020), where half of participants expressed the same sentiment.

This sentiment was strongest in the USA and Australia where, in both countries, 24 % of consumers surveyed “strongly agree” they feel obliged to support small businesses. As with our prior report in June, Baby Boomers are the generation most likely to favor small businesses, with 61 % agreeing they feel obliged to help smaller businesses survive (up from 57 %). Again, Gen Z – perhaps as a result of their upbringing in a world dominated by big-box retailers and online shopping – are the least likely to feel obligated to support small businesses, with 19 % indicating they don’t feel an obligation. Perhaps this is a result of the somewhat widely held belief among Gen Z’ers that large companies contribute more to their national economy through taxes, expressed by 36 % of those surveyed.

When asked whether governments should concentrate their efforts on supporting small businesses, 55 % said they agree. Australians are most in favor of small businesses receiving government support at 60 %. Attitudes towards the government’s role in supporting small businesses differs by generation, with Baby Boomers most in favour of the government prioritizing small business support, and Gen Z least in favour.

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