Online survey shows Kenyans’ changing lifestyles and habits

Ipsos Kenya has released a new report detailing how the COVID-19 pandemic has led to changes in Kenyans’ lifestyles.

The study titled Pulse on Kenyans and COVID-19, shows Kenyans have become more aware of their budgeting and have been pushed to seek financial stability in case of future crises.

It reveals that 54% of Kenyans are planning to spend less post-pandemic, 15% the same while 31% will spend more. It also shows a strong uptick on purchase of hygienic and cleaning products, an increase in purchase of essential foods and a decrease in non-essential food such as confectionaries.

The need to budget and save money has also led to changes in the types of purchases with many buying in smaller quantities, cheaper brands, and a shift towards local and homemade products.

The study was conducted by Ipsos Kenya Understanding Unlimited (UU) among online communities in February 2022. Ipsos UU uses the very latest in online technology – including live chats, video focus groups, and interactive surveys and discussions – to turn static, linear research into an immersive experience for audiences of all shapes and sizes.

It shows that despite recent struggles brought by the pandemic, there has been a silver lining, with many leveraging the forced isolation and loss of opportunity to develop new skills and take a more creative outlook on life.

Ipsos Kenya UU Lead, Ruth Ruigu commented: “Many Kenyans moved to the online sphere and leverage IT tools to remain connected with the outside world, while some young adults successfully adapted to the new normal and developed strong skills.”

“For these individuals, there is a clear advantage to this evolution as IT skills have become very marketable and have enabled them to look for alternative ways of learning and earning,” she added.

Some Kenyans surveyed reported forming a stronger bond with their families after having to move back in and isolate with their families. This was in the context of the tough times they faced together which allowed Kenyans to take stock and appreciate their families. Some even adopted new habits – exercising together, playing family games etc. – to foster this bond and pass the time.

On finances and banking, the study shows the pandemic had a negative effect with rampant loss of jobs and income leading to increase inside hustles to make ends meet. Some Kenyans had to survive on their savings and therefore depleting them. This also saw many downsizing in terms of lifestyle and spending to save money, while loan acquisitions to boost businesses increased.

“Although Kenyans interactions with banks remain minimal for the mass market, we observe a stronger focus on digital platforms. More digital payments, cashless transactions – virtual relationship has become more of a preference,” said Ruigu.

On media consumption, the study shows many Kenyans were stuck at home with little to do other than consuming media due to the lockdown directives.

Television is listed top of the media most consumed. Internet, especially social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok), entertainment apps such as Netflix, YouTube, search engines such as Google also recorded upsurge in consumption among Kenyans.

“COVID-19 has made Kenyans more reliant on online communication channels for human interactions since social activities were discouraged. Some have spent more time-consuming media to stay informed on COVID 19 and its impact on society,” reads part of the report.

Ipsos Kenya uses online communities as an engagement approach focused on intrinsic motivation, fostering a truly social environment for powerful, in-depth insights and discovery. This they combine with rigorous research methods, best-in-class community management, and unparalleled sector expertise, to deliver true engagement at scale to address challenges affecting the society.


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