Epidemic of loneliness grows out of coronavirus pandemic

By Dennis Archambault

Consumer attitude surveys serve a valuable role in product planning and marketing. While geared to understand how consumers feel and behave in matters pertaining to the product or service in question, they also render valuable information about how people feel and behave in general. Marketers seek to resolve the “pain” in the lives of people.

The Ford Motor Company Global Trend Report (https://media.ford.com/content/fordmedia/fna/us/en/news/2019/12/11/ford-releases-2020-global-trend-report.html) released last week has valuable insight into the state of the world in the coronavirus pandemic. While enduring this traumatic event, we are experiencing tremendous loneliness, “an epidemic of global proportions.” Forty-five percent of adults globally say they feel lonely on a regular basis. Loneliness is particularly acute among young people, whom you’d think would be more resilient. Sixty-two percent of Gen Zers feel lonely on a regular basis. While this may seem understandable during periods of isolation and social distancing, the Ford study found that half of the Gen Z respondents agreed that “I often feel lonely when I’m around other people.”

There is much to learn from attitudes regarding other aspects of life – such as 58 percent of respondents feel more despair than hope when confronting climate change, and distrust among brands. This intelligence can be valuable in planning public health communication regarding pandemic precautions, vaccine distribution, and other initiatives relying on trust. Ultimately, we are challenged to address the other epidemic — loneliness in society.

Dennis Archambault is vice president of Public Affairs for Authority Health.