Paul Cheloti Mulongo
September 7, 2023
Amidst the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kasi Insight launched an extensive monthly tracking program. The tracker diligently spanned from March to December 2020 and persistently carried on into February, April, July, and October 2021. At its core, the program aimed to deliver an in-depth analysis of how the pandemic impacted various dimensions of individuals' lives, encompassing their activities, evolving priorities, and income fluctuations.
In Cameroon, as the pandemic emerged in March 2020, a striking transformation in pandemic-era activities emerged among Millennials and Gen X. Among these, 40% of respondents displayed a heightened interest in reading, while 38% gravitated towards watching movies and videos on social media platforms, signifying a shift in entertainment preferences. Furthermore, 32% reported newfound enthusiasm for spending quality time with their families, underscoring the significance of close bonds during challenging times. Economic concerns were expressed by 28%, while 27% embraced digital entertainment.
Subtle generational distinctions emerged, as 41% of Millennials displayed a preference for online video consumption, while 36% of Gen X leaned in the same direction. Conversely, 39% of Gen X placed a strong emphasis on spending quality time with family, in contrast to 25% of Millennials.
Moreover, the survey brought to light variations in spending habits between the two generations. Notably, 35% of Gen X prioritized investments in airtime and data, while only 17% of Millennials followed suit. Additionally, 33% of Gen X expressed concerns about the future, indicating a prevailing sense of uncertainty. As a response, many found solace in television as a means to relax and stay informed.
In April 2021, the tracker uncovered a challenging economic scenario, with 73% of respondents grappling with income changes. A significant majority, 61%, reported a decrease in income, underscoring the financial strain faced by many. In contrast, only 12% experienced an increase in income, and 27% saw no change. Notably, when comparing these findings between the two generations, no significant differences in the patterns of income fluctuations were evident. This emphasized a crucial point: the economic challenges posed by the pandemic affected individuals of all generations, blurring generational boundaries in their shared financial hardships.
When questioned about the pandemic's impact on their lifestyles and daily routines, 39% acknowledged its profound influence. One of the most remarkable transformations was observed in travel plans, with both generations displaying a strong inclination towards local travel, particularly within African destinations, whether for business or leisure purposes.
What sets the Millennial generation apart is its emergence as a distinct category of local tourists, displaying a keen interest in exploring nearby tourist attractions and ranking it as their third-highest priority. Conversely, Gen X, while also favoring domestic travel, leaned towards road trips to nearby tourist destinations, similarly ranking it as their third priority. This divergence in travel preferences underscores the contrasting attitudes towards travel and leisure between these two generations.
Considering Kasi Insight's extensive findings that illuminated the profound shifts in behavior triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, it becomes imperative to harness this knowledge for adaptation and success in our ever-changing landscape. Understanding the shifts in media consumption preferences, with Millennials favoring online video content and Gen X turning to reading and quality family time, can provide invaluable insights for media and content businesses. Similarly, recognizing the differing resource allocation patterns during the pandemic, notably the investment in airtime and data by both generations, offers valuable information for telecom companies and businesses operating in the digital space.
Furthermore, the conspicuous shift witnessed in the domain of travel, particularly favoring local tourism, predominantly within the confines of African destinations, holds vast implications for stakeholders in the tourism sector, travel industry enterprises, and policymakers alike. Recognizing, endorsing, and nurturing this trend can serve as a guiding beacon, one that has the potential to significantly bolster domestic tourism—a critical driver for not only economic revival but also sustainable growth.
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