The COVID-19 virus has been the main concern for people worldwide over the past while. This has given rise to research about the different aspects concerning this virus. One main area of concern has been the different lockdown measures adopted by different countries and systems. There has been much debate about the effects of lockdowns on people during the COVID-19 pandemic and post pandemic. (Background)
This research study aims at analyzing the lockdown in Italy and its effect on time management, trust in the social, economic, and political system, with a focus on consumer behavior during lock down and the following months.
The method implemented to achieve this objective is a CAWI (Computer-assisted web interviewing) survey technique. We completed N=600 interviews across North, Centre and Southern regions of Italy. Age range is 18 to 65 years old whereby 50% are male and 50% are female.
Results associated with Italy’s lockdown and time management were centered around four main aspects: work, family care, external relations, and free time. During lockdown, smart-working (online work or work performed virtually) increased by an average on 218% while office work decreased by an average of 81.3%. Post-covid, it is expected that traditional office work will increase, however smart working will have benefited from the increase. During lockdown, childcare, cooking, and house care witnessed an increase as people were required to spend time indoors sharing the same limited spaces, whereas elderly care has witnessed a slight decrease. It is expected that outdoor life and activities will gain popularity post-covid. When it comes to relationships, online relationships have shown an increase during the lockdown, where people spent most of their time engaging in virtual talks and activities (+42,8%). This will most likely drop significantly post-covid but still be higher than pre-pandemic times. Finally, free time spent during the virus lockdown was centered around and showed an increase regarding indoor and digital activities such as television (+59,9%), music (+12,9%), art (+24,9%), and reading (+12,9%), whereas sports activities decreased (-35,9%). The latter (sports) as well as physical and non-digital activities are expected to increase post covid.
Results related to the trust in the system during COVID-19 virus lockdown, aspects related to work, finances and consumption witnessed stable outcomes with the second majority skewing towards a decline or negative outcomes. Trust in the system related to institutions had more positive outcomes than negative with most positive results by 43%.
Finally, results related to consumers during the virus lockdown showed an increase in expenses related to the house (+9,6%), food and beverage (+16,7%), water energy (+17,8%), and technology or technological devices (+23%). Decreased results were shown when it comes to transport, restaurants and hospitality, fuel, alcohol and cigarettes, fashion, home decoration, culture, and health. This is expected due to the limited activities people were permitted to perform and the amount of time they had to spend at home or indoors. Post-covid, all consumer categories are expected to still be on the rise or at an increase, except for fuel and water energy. (Results)