Living in a COVID-19 World – A Gen Z Perspective on Lifestyle, Brands and Media
March 25, 2020
Written by Tyler Sealy-Yusuff, Student & Marketing Intern
On Friday 20th March 2020, it was announced in the UK that all pubs, clubs and restaurants would close at midnight to fight the spread of CV19. Cue panic – a thing of nightmares for a large portion of us ‘Gen Z’s’
And, on the evening of Monday 23rd March, Boris Johnson addressed the nation stating there would be nationwide lockdown, banning any travel or leaving the house unless ‘essential’, and only allowed to leave their house to buy essential items, exercise once a day, and travel for work only if ‘absolutely necessary’.
Younger generations have never experienced a broadcast as monumental as this. Over 27 million brits tuned in to watch the PM lay out his strict coronavirus restrictions, the most watched broadcast since the closing ceremony of the London Olympics in 2012 (24.5 million).
Every Introvert’s Dream
I can think of a few friends who maybe weren’t as bothered by the news – it’s every introvert, gamer and Netflix binge-watcher’s dream. But for others it’s going to be a shock to the system. We take for granted the freedom to walk to bars, pubs and restaurants to see our friends. For many people gyms and sports activities provide platforms where they can relieve themselves of their stresses. Weekends spent shopping or going to cinemas are banished to memory.
An Uncertain Future
With many industries closing down, it’s cast uncertainty over the economy and employment. Whilst the government are rolling out measures to help certain organizations and industries, many are struggling, and self-employed workers and those reliant on the gig economy might need to find different methods of putting food on the table.
As a student, I have had to leave my University house and go back home to live with my parents, meaning drastic changes to my lifestyle, social life and studies. Full shutdown from here on is essentially the end of my academic year, and I’m unsure of the future consequences for my career.
Ideally we should be looking for internships, but I find it hard to believe that in the current climate businesses will even be considering taking on students when they’re struggling to secure the futures of current employees. I’ve had to leave my part-time job and look for work closer to home.
Socializing has been an easy transition so far, able game and chat to my friends online most nights through my PlayStation. On the other hand, I’m used to playing rugby and going to the gym almost every day, which has been replaced by daily runs and yoga. I have tried to avoid being stuck to my phone and console all day as I’m trying uphold the same routine I had before the lockdown to maintain my mental and social wellbeing. I also feel that now I have all this free time, it would be foolish not to do things that would better myself during this period.
What are brands and influencers doing?
Before I would go to sleep, I would usually listen to podcasts by some of my favorite Youtubers. However, due to the doom and gloom nature of some of these podcasts recently, I’ve tried to steer clear listen to ones that take my mind things and provide a positive state of mind.
A lot of content from brands and social pages I follow are reiterating the main points of the coronavirus restrictions – to stay inside and practice social distancing when out of the house. I think it’s important that these pages and influencers spread this message as different groups in society seek different outlets and influencers that they will listen to, trust and follow. Nike’s ‘Play Inside, Play for the World’ was the right message. IKEA have also struck the right tone when talking about the importance of home.
This pandemic has shown us how essential our health system is to our society. They have been silent heroes, underpaid and overworked, and the likes of McDonald’s and Pret have offering discounted food or free beverages for NHS workers. I appreciate those brands that are doing what they can to address the current situation.
This pandemic has changed my views. Even your ‘average joe’ is driven by greed, and in times of turmoil you discover people’s true character. People bulk buying in stores, despite numerous messages that we have enough food and resources. Those mass buying hand sanitizers, tampons, nappies to then resell for extortionate prices online. NHS workers being mugged at knifepoint for their passes for early entry to stores. We have really seen the dark side of humanity during these last few weeks. Kudos to the supermarkets that have prioritized the elderly, vulnerable and NHS workers with adjusted opening times.
What Do We Do Now?
So, what do we do now? For most of us, everything is on hold, with all plans cancelled or postponed for the next few months. I had a trip to Amsterdam cancelled, as well as a ski trip to the Alps. My 21st Birthday might pass as a non-event, or at best a virtual ‘party’ on the House Party app.
With boredom maybe a few spare pennies having had my social calendar disintegrate, maybe a little retail therapy? But, then, what am I buying? Some nice new clothes just to wear around the house? This isn’t Love Island. Also, who knows if any clothes will fit me by the end of this lockdown, if I can’t keep up the daily running… Maybe I’ll buy a few more video games, then.