Adapter, Thriver or Survivor – three different shifts in ambitions and values as a result of Covid-19

  1. We’re all wearing purple now. Why we’re focusing more on how we feel than how we look in a post-pandemic world.
  2. It doesn’t matter if you fall down, it’s whether you get back up – just ask Michael Jordan, or a Striver.
  3. Adapter, Thriver or Survivor – three different shifts in ambitions and values as a result of Covid-19
  4. How brands can help consumers navigate their changing ambitions and values

Last week we introduced the Strivers, a segment of society characterised by comprehensive and significant shifts in their values and ambitions as a result of the pandemic. Our next three segments, Adapters, Thrivers and Survivors, make up just over half of the UK (55%). While they share some traits, these segments are pulled apart by differences in their readiness to face the world, their confidence in the future, their overall wellbeing and what they’re seeking from brands.

Adapters have reevaluated what’s important to them, regardless of how it looks to the rest of the world

How have things changed?

Since the pandemic started, Adapters have made a clear shift away from pursuing perfectionism, professional success and wealth. They’re more than twice as likely to say these values are less important to them now than the average adult. This could be because they’ve let go of the pressure to live up to external expectations, with 2 in 3 saying they worry about other people’s opinions less now than they did before the Coronavirus pandemic (68% of Adapters vs 49% of all adults).

What do they want from life now?

Adapters are focusing more on health, kindness, love and friendship, are prioritising putting themselves and their family first (85% vs 61% of all adults), and place greater value on living an authentic life (67% vs 51% of all adults). For them this means approaching life at a slower pace (74% vs 60% of all adults) and taking each day as it comes (77% vs 60% of all adults).

What does this mean for brands?

In their search for authenticity and liberation from societal expectation, Adapters have reprioritised buying products and services that meet genuine needs (78% agree) and shopping local (68% agree). Although they have a fairly balanced personal outlook – they feel relatively satisfied with life but have some lingering anxiety – 1 in 2 Adapters are pessimistic about the country’s economy, and Adapters are more careful about how they spend their money since the pandemic started than the average adult is (72% of Adapters vs 61% of all adults). Brands that recognise and celebrate individuality and diversity with their products and services, as well as those that offer consumers flexibility to buy and use products or services at home should particularly resonate with Adapters.

Thrivers have been reminded that the going was good and feel re-incentivised to keep it that way

How have things changed?

Thrivers have fared well in the pandemic. Although they are careful planners who like to set long-term goals, they are also happy with change – giving them the flexibility needed to stay positive over the last two years. In fact, Thrivers are among the most likely segments to have more self belief now than before the pandemic began, alongside Strivers (67% of Thrivers agree vs 39% of all adults). Overall, Thrivers are highly satisfied with their lives, but the pandemic gave them a chance to reflect on what could add meaning; they’re one of the most likely segments to have ‘living a more meaningful life’ as one of their top ambitions (alongside Strivers).

What do they want from life now?

The pandemic gave Thrivers clarity on the things they value most in life, strengthening the importance of time with loved ones, physical health and financial wealth – 88% value time with loved ones more now (vs 63% of all adults), 81% say health is more important now (vs 65% of all adults) and 77% say financial security is more important now (vs 55% of all adults). Thrivers are brimming with positivity and optimism about what the future holds for them – they are the most likely segment to say they are optimistic about their finances (81% vs 44% of all adults) and their personal health (78% vs 47% of all adults), and they are one of the most likely segments to say they feel optimistic about their job prospects, alongside Strivers (53% vs 35% of all adults).

What does this mean for brands?

Although a small audience, Thrivers have spending power – but they also have high expectations for brands. Just like Adapters and Strivers, Thrivers think it’s important brands focus on products and services that meet genuine needs (85% agree vs 66% of all adults) and they’re more inclined to support smaller businesses and local brands (60%). Flexibility and personalisation are also important to Thrivers – they want to be able to access products and services when and where it suits them (72% vs 57% of all adults) and they want to be involved in shaping what brands offer (63% vs 49% of all adults). Thrivers are also more likely than the average adult to be conscious of brands’ ethical credentials, with 61% now more likely to seek out ethical or environmentally-conscious brands than they were before the pandemic (vs 48% of all adults).

Survivors are still carrying out damage limitation and feeling the drain of this

How have things changed?

Survivors are an introverted group with 96% saying they prefer to spend time on their own rather than with others (vs 58% of all adults) but their home isn’t necessarily a sanctuary – only 58% are happy with their home environment compared to 71% of all adults. Survivors also struggle to stay positive – 56% are easily disappointed (vs 36% of all adults) and only 29% feel optimistic about the future (vs 37% of all adults). Simply limiting the damage of the pandemic on their lives has been an ambition in itself, and Survivors are more focused than ever on protecting their physical health and mental wellbeing.

What do they want from life now?

Survivors haven’t had the headspace to consider the big picture, only 32% feel they have more clarity around the life they want to lead now than they did before the pandemic started (vs 40% of all adults). They aren’t feeling particularly ambitious, but alongside improving their health and wellbeing Survivors are trying to spend more time doing what makes them happy and saying ‘no’ to things that don’t reflect where they want to be.

What does this mean for brands?

Survivors tend to focus less on what a brand stands for and more on how their products and services can help meet their needs. Only 39% are more likely to seek out ethical or environmentally conscious brands now compared to 48% of all adults, and 38% are more likely to seek out brands that share their values compared to 44% of all adults. Instead, more than 1 in 2 Survivors agree it’s more important than ever for brands to focus on providing products and services that people actually need (54%), and that brands should offer flexibility when it comes to accessibility (53%). Their lack of optimism about the immediate future means that Survivors are now more careful about how they spend their money (56%). The brands that win with Survivors will be those that can respect the difficulties of the last two years while offering genuine support and positivity.

If you’d like to know more about Adapters, Thrivers or Survivors and how they interact with your brand, please get in touch!

Old Salt and Little Wing conducted expert interviews with consumer and business psychologist Dimitrios Tsivrikos, wellbeing and life coach Leanne Evans, and cultural and consumer trends expert Ruth Marshall-Johnson, and an online survey with a nationally representative sample of 1,000 UK adults aged 16+, segmented on their ambitions and values.

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