Which Generation does self-isolation the best?

I felt that I handled self-isolation during COVID-19 very well, simply bingeing on Netflix from weekend to weekend. No guilt either! Others were a bit more fitness oriented, adopting new exercise regimes. And then there were those who took up baking, who made their own sourdough starter, produced artisan loaves, cakes, biscuits and other delicacies.

Productivity, sloth, rejuvenation, reinvention, creation … everyone has done what works best for them.

But which generation does the nation think DID SELF-ISOLATION BEST?

Faster Horses recently asked over 1,000 Australians a simple question ‘Who is handling self-isolation the best?’

The nation is more likely to think that Baby Boomers are handling things best, with a third of Australians giving this generation the credit (32%). And just under 1 in 5 thought Gen X won this contest (17%).

So the older generations get half the votes. What about my own Millennial group? Unfortunately only 12% of Australians thought Millennials handled self-iso the best.

Let’s dig into this a bit more …

It turns out that most Baby Boomers actually voted for themselves! 53% of this cohort thought that they themselves were managing things the best.

So you’d think on this basis that all generations would rate themselves the best, right? Well, you’d be wrong!  Millennials and Gen X were almost just as likely to choose Baby Boomers as they were to select their own generation. Turns out that Millennials and Gen X are both self aware and generous towards others in their votes.

So what are the dynamics around Baby Boomers coping best?

For Baby Boomers, COVID-19 is pretty much ‘business as usual’…

Perhaps the key to Baby Boomers’ handling of COVID-19 is the fact that they’ve largely maintained their pre-COVID-19 routine. Compared to other generations, Baby Boomers were more likely to be doing the same amount of shopping in store, cooking the same amount of homemade meals, and buying the same amount of items, including fresh fruit and vegetables, frozen meals, clothing and homewares.

Baby Boomers are also relatively financially secure, less represented in industries severely impacted by job-losses or ‘freezing’ of economic activities and would be more likely to have mature-aged children that do not require active home-schooling.

These reasons, plus their consistent purchasing habits, explain why this generation was more likely to identify as feeling calm (29%) during COVID-19, compared to Gen X (24%) and Millennials (16%).

…COVID-19 is causing more disruption to Millennial lifestyles

In contrast, Millennials are more likely to change (either do more or less of certain activities) rather than maintain their status quo from pre COVID-19. This includes doing more activities such as shopping online, cooking homemade meals, and picking up takeaway; and purchasing more items, including fruit and vegetables, frozen meals, and DIY materials. Shopping in store is done less often, and fewer non-essential items are purchased, including clothes, cosmetics, and homewares.

Although we see trends across each generation to some extent, Millennials are changing their purchasing behaviour the most. These changes – most of them imposed rather than voluntary, and accompanied by significant concern for their financial future – perhaps not surprisingly sees Millennials feeling the most stressed (35%) during COVID-19, compared to Gen X (27%) and Baby Boomers (23%).

These changes adopted by Millennials should be seen as a positive coping mechanism. Some other perspectives about my generation are less positive, reinforcing why it is not seen as ‘the best’ at handling the situation.

While purchasing behaviours have changed a lot, lifestyle behaviours have changed less. Take social distancing rules for instance. Most respondents surveyed (63%) indicated that Millennials were the generation most likely to break social distancing rules. Even Millennials agreed with this assessment – 52% of them believe their own generation is most likely to break these rules.

Although some credit is due for Millennials in changing their purchasing behaviours, on balance, it is fair to say Baby Boomers are handling self-isolation ‘the best’. As a Millennial myself, I’ll gladly give them this dubious honour!

If you want more COVID-19 insights, download our free report here . Contact Ed McCarthy (0447 164 584) for further information on the above and other COVID-19 insights.