IBM Surveys 15,000 Globally on Life After the Covid-19 Vaccine
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IBM Surveys 15,000 Globally on Life After the Covid-19 Vaccine

IBM Surveys 15,000 Globally on Life After the Covid-19 Vaccine

To get a handle on how people are thinking about Covid-19 vaccines and their plans once they – and a sufficient number of other people – are vaccinated, the IBM Institute for Business Value surveyed more than 15,000 adults across 9 countries in February. Which changes in consumer behavior will fade away, and which will become permanent? How will brands have to adjust and adapt to the imminent reopening of the U.S. economy (not to mention restaurants, hair salons, gyms, and after-school enrichment programs for children)?

The survey found that, overall, most respondents were confident in the safety, effectiveness, and distribution of the vaccines. One reason cited is that greater transparency helped drive consumer confidence. More than half of respondents said they expect the vaccine to keep them protected even as variants appear.

Globally, two of three (68%) of unvaccinated people said they planned to receive the vaccine when eligible, with the highest proportion of this group in Brazil and Mexico, both hit hard by the pandemic.

The flip side of this is that 1 in 3 (32%) said they were not confident in the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine. Reasons among this group still viewed the vaccines with distrust and uncertainty, and as a new risk to navigate. Confidence in the safety, efficiency, and overall rollout of the vaccine were very high in China, India, and the U.K. – and below average in the U.S.

Globally, as of March, vaccination rates were still very low, according to the report: 17% of global respondents reported being partially or fully vaccinated, while 83% had received no doses. That is picking up, but the vaccine is still being distributed unevenly, based mostly on richer vs. poorer countries.

Nearly 4 of 5 respondents who want the vaccine expect to receive it this year, but given the slow and uneven pace of global distribution, this seems unlikely. In January, the Economist Intelligence Unit projected that immunization programs for the majority of the world’s population will continue until mid-2022. And then there’s India today…

The percentage of the world’s population that must be vaccinated against Covid-19 to begin inducing herd immunity is unknown. But vaccination levels will need to exceed 70% before global consumers will feel comfortable resuming their pre-pandemic lifestyles – and some, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, have indicated the number could be as high as 85%.


“Amid so much uncertainty, consumers are rethinking the way they want to work, socialize, travel, and shop. They’re considering more factors before they make their decisions, and some are opting out of non-essential activities entirely,” according to IBM.

“For businesses, that means the battle for market share has become fiercer, with companies fighting for pieces of a smaller pie. As we’ve seen throughout the pandemic, some businesses will benefit from these shifting priorities – and others will need to find new ways to compete,” it added.

Read the full report here.

Published: May 9th, 2021

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