What will Canadians do (and not do) once restrictions lift?

Also, according to Mindshare's research, Canadians aren't too concerned about their children consuming too much media during lockdown.

Mindshare has conducted its sixth wave of weekly COVID-related research to get an idea of how Canadians are feeling during the pandemic. This newest release also takes a look into what Canadians are anticipating for a post-COVID world.

While Canadians aren’t exactly enjoying themselves, they’re anticipating that their return to “normal” life may be more gradual and cautious, especially when it comes to high-occupancy, advertiser-friendly occassions like movies, concerts and sporting events.

Mindshare found that Canadians are the most scared now than in the weeks before, with 57% saying they feel worried, 49% feel anxious and 43% feel stressed. Meanwhile, positive emotions, which at one point looked promising, have stayed low; only 21% report feeling prepared, 20% feeling hopeful and 16% feeling calm. Women over-index on more negative emotions, while men over-index on emotions like confidence and calmness. Gen Z was the generation that reported feeling the most stressed.

Some of Canadians’ biggest concerns include the global and national economy (which both outrank the worry of getting sick), their personal finances and getting essential supplies. However, very few Canadians are worried that their children are spending too much time consuming media.

Mindshare also added new emotions to its research series. Nearly one-quarter of Canadians report some degree of tedium. Additionally, 18% report feeling lonely, and 16% say they feel angry.

While emotions and worries do differ slightly across generations, most miss the same things – going to the movies, going to the mall, travelling and simply running errands. Gen Z misses going to the movies the most. But that doesn’t mean they’ll all rush out once restrictions are lifted. Only 7% of respondents said they would go to the movies “as soon as restrictions are lifted.” Most said they would likely go out within one month. The biggest thing Canadians want to do once restrictions lift is to simply see the people they love, with 28% saying they’ll do so immediately and 25% saying they will do so within one to two weeks.

Retail stores and malls appear to be the next biggest thing people plan to visit once restrictions lift, but only 16% say they’ll do so immediately. Restaurants and bars are also a high priority but it’s likely that people will ease in after a few weeks than go out right away.

As for using public transit, 13% say they’ll do so immediately, 10% within a few weeks and 9% within a month. Sports, concerts and live events are one of the least likely activities people plan to indulge on, even after a month of restrictions lifting. Only 7% say they’ll go to a sporting event and 5% say they’ll go to a concert or live event immediately; only 11% and 9%, respectively, say they will attend such events within one month.

Although many Canadians want a return to “normal,” 62% believe physical distancing orders should not be lifted anytime soon.

While people remain inside, they are still watching plenty of news. Dedicated TV news stations are still the highest source of information, with 38% of respondents saying they are tuning in for COVID facts (down slightly from 40% at the beginning of the pandemic). Government websites have grown slightly to 36% (up from 31%). TV news shows on non-news stations are in third, but have dropped seven percentage points to 20%.

The biggest rise, though, is brand websites. In the first wave of research, only 2% said they were getting information from brand websites. Now, 14% say they get info from such sites.

TV is still dominant; 52% of people are watching movies at home, 51% are watching live TV and 44% are streaming TV. This outranks people using social media, watching online videos, using mobile apps and even listening to music (however, live TV is most popular with Gen X and Boomers, less so with Millennials and Gen Z). Interaction with influencers is at the bottom, with 24% of Canadians saying they are interacting with them.

For apps, Gen Z most frequently uses YouTube, Netflix, Instagram, Twitter and Reddit. YouTube and Netflix are the only apps that are universally loved among all generations during this time. Older generations trend more toward Facebook, as well as Spotify.