Naira Sato
Naira is the Research Category Director at Mintel.

Parts of Brazil are in lockdown or under increased restrictions as the COVID-19 crisis deepens. For consumers, recession is impacting spending priorities and concerns about mental and physical health are on the rise.

From July to October 2020, concern over exposure to COVID-19 declined. An increase in cases in the country, as a consequence of the end-of-year gatherings and holiday festivities, resulted in a subsequent increase in concern overexposure in November (68%) and December (72%). Concern levels remained elevated in January. When Mintel’s Global COVID-19 Tracker, Brazil, was in-field at the beginning of 2021, there was no solid confirmation for the vaccination rollout’s start in Brazil, which also might have contributed to consumers’ anxiety and fear of getting infected.

Brazilians are feeling the impact of COVID-19 in their finances, as more than half perceive their current financial situation as tight, struggling or in trouble. In December 2020, the government paid the last parcel for the emergency aid created to help those in need during the pandemic, which means that two in five Brazilian households will not have that extra budget from 2021, compromising their spending and impacting their purchase decisions.

With more than half of Brazilians agreeing that their mental wellbeing is now a high priority, it is clear that new consumer needs are appearing as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, and consumers are interested in products designed to help meet these needs. Two in five skincare users are aware that emotional factors can influence their skin appearance, as more than two in five of laundry product users say they would be interested in laundry products with relaxing scents, and more than three in five Brazilians are saying they would like to have more food/drinks with ingredients that can improve mental/emotional health.

Not only do Brazilians place concern on mental health, but they’re also concerned with their physical health. We’ve seen that exercising is a high-priority activity for three in 10 Brazilians, but few feel comfortable doing so. Outdoor activities are preferred, with nearly a third of consumers saying they do these and feel comfortable doing so; conversely, going to the gym is still not perceived as a safe activity, with nearly three in five consumers agreeing that they do not do this, and wouldn’t feel comfortable doing so. This is likely due to safety concerns.

Having limited choices for exercise, Brazilians feel the impact in their bodies; as nearly two in five are choosing to eat healthier during the pandemic due to their decrease in physical activity.

Please note, this piece covers data from before the vaccination rollout; fieldwork ended on January 14, 2021, and the first vaccine in Brazil was given on January 17. In the following piece, we’ll be talking about consumers’ thoughts on the vaccine, COVID-19 fatigue behaviors and economic impact one year after the first COVID-19 case was diagnosed in Brazil (February 26, 2020).