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“THE HUMAN CONDITION 2020: A Shock To The System”

Study Reveals Dramatic Effects Of The Pandemic On American Life

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credit: Known


Publisher’s note
OOH Today rarely gives any space to subject matter not in some way related to Out of Home. We sincerely appreciate that you turn to us for news and information strictly in the OOH Industry and we steadfastly hold to that endeavor. As this is an exceptional time in all of our lives, this press release from marketing agency ‘Known’ is an exception we hope you find as interesting as we did.

There are three considerations why we recommend this study might be of interest. First, are the insights provided in their findings on changes in American life resulting from COVID-19. Second, the research may direct you to advantages in your sales, marketing and advertising efforts. And last, it will have value as you share with clients, friends and loved ones. 


A Shock To The System”


Marketing Firm “Known” Releases New Findings That Show:
42% have made positive life changes they plan to maintain
Only 13% see their lives returning to “normal”
30% of the population plans to increase spending at small/local businesses
39 Million people planning to move


NEW YORK — Known, the modern marketing agency, announced today on the Advertising Week 2020 stage, the results of “THE HUMAN CONDITION 2020: A Shock To The System,” one of the most ambitious ongoing studies of the dramatic changes in American life as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the onset of COVID-19, Known dispatched its team of Ph.D. data scientists and researchers to explore how American experiences and perceptions began to change dramatically, in real-time.  This comprehensive examination of the state of the human condition in the United States today reveals many key findings with glimpses of where we’re heading, as well as insights, analysis and predictions about the impact of these changes on businesses.


A message from DPAA Summit 2020


“THE HUMAN CONDITION 2020: A Shock To The System” is the first wave of one of the largest and most ambitious ongoing longitudinal studies of its kind, with qualitative and quantitative insights, as well as both personal stories and advanced analytics that decode the new human condition. The quantitative study was conducted with 1,700+ respondents across the US, and the qualitative phase consisted of multimedia reflections and inquiries on a regular cadence over a 2-month timeframe with 24 respondents.

“As the first wave of COVID-19 began to spread we all knew it would alter our lives profoundly” said Kern Schireson Chairman & CEO of Known.  “As scientists and marketers whose work is rooted in listening and understanding people and culture, we felt a genuine need to dig deeper and uncover how this was impacting everyone.”

He continued, “We found that as the bedrock of daily life was shaken, uncertainty predictably emerged as the prevailing emotion of our time but this universal problem was eliciting a highly differentiated reaction in different people – but in ways that were hard to decode through the lens of our traditional social constructs. We were surprised to find that degrees of resilience did not necessarily correlate with distinct communities or economic circumstances, but that inherent values, intrinsic traits and underlying motivations were more telling of an ability to cope, and even thrive, in 2020. This data is a meaningful rubric that can help us all begin to understand one another and to navigate in this changing world.”

Key Findings Include:

There are vastly different responses to this shock and the US population segments into five distinct groups defined by their resilience in the face of this great change.

The Steadfast – 31% of the population
The Engaged – 11%
The Persistent – 21%

The Struggling – 25%
The Defeated – 13%

Life during COVID-19:

  • Just 13% of Americans see their lives going back to exactly how they were before COVID-19
  • 48% of younger people (24 and under) say that they would need government permission before participating in large scale activities; only 33% of older audiences feel they need government permission
  • 42% of people feel they have made positive life changes that they will maintain into the future, while only 3% of people feel they have developed bad habits that will stick with them
  • Teens and technology: Teens, in particular, are struggling to balance their use of technology. They are more likely to be more obsessed with screens since the spread of COVID-19 and more likely to believe their obsession is harmful and try to avoid it
  • 69% of teens are feeling detached and isolated
  • In health: Exercise may become a more solitary endeavor. Even after the spread of COVID-19 passes, 31% plan to go to the gym less frequently than they did prior to the start of the pandemic, while those expecting to do in-home or outdoor workouts have increased.

At work:

  • Female professionals are more likely to be diving into remote work for the first time (47% of female professionals said they never worked remotely before the spread of COVID-19, only 38% of male professionals had never worked remotely).
  • Younger professionals (34 and under) are 1.4x more likely than older professionals to feel the pandemic has slowed down or completely stalled their professional progression.

At home:

  • Those under 24 feel completely detached and isolated (68%), those 25 and above are less likely to feel that way (53%). Furthermore, students feel especially detached; 71% feel completely detached and isolated (potentially because they were ripped out of school and other activities they normally do).
  • People are re-evaluating their immediate surroundings; 16% of adults (~39 Million people across the US) are planning to move as a result of COVID-19. This figure is up from 10% in 2019. They’re looking for more space, but also to be in a community more aligned with their values.

In the community:

  • Restricted mobility has refreshed a focus on hyper-local community. 30% of the population plans to increase spending at small/local businesses post-COVID.


Study Methodology: Wave one of “The Human Condition: Life In 2020” included qualitative and quantitative research on 1,795 people ages 13-71, as well as advanced segmentation techniques. Additionally, 24 respondents, ages 14-77, were chosen for in-depth interviews, journaling and on-going engagement, beginning April 2020. Findings offer a full picture and representative sample of the US population.

For more information and additional study materials, please visit https://known.is/studying-the-humancondition/

Click here to receive the first results of wave two of this study, which will examine how Americans are exiting virtual life.

About Known
Known is a modern marketing company engineered for the unprecedented challenges and opportunities facing marketers today. Known pairs PhD data scientists with award-winning creatives, expert research teams and strategists. Known is anchored by two decades of groundbreaking market research and data science capabilities, which uniquely empower our marketing strategy and acclaimed creative groups, who produce some of the most innovative, cutting-edge creative work in culture. The result? Marketing that is predisposed to succeed and be persistently optimized, directly impacting clients’ bottom lines. Our clients span the leading brands in finance, technology, media, CPG, real estate and many other categories.  Known has over 200 employees in 6 US cities including Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin, Boston and New York. Our teams have won multiple Emmys, Clios, Effies, Cannes Lions Awards and ProMax Agency of the Year three times.


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