I have once again the pleasure to bring to you the results of an updated research done in the past few days by EMCS (www.emcs.com.mt) with regards the Maltese Perspectives on COVID-19. The study was carried out between Tuesday 14th April and Friday 17th April 2020. In total 429 individuals aged 18 and over were interviewed, with data being representative of the local population in terms of gender, age (18 and over) and location of residence with a margin of error of +/- 5% at 95% confidence interval.
- Perceptions on Government’s Handling of the Situation
2. Job Security
3. Willingness to get a Wage Cut
4. What are the Maltese concerned about most?
5. Income & Expenditure Trends
6. Impact of COVID-19
7. Time Allocation
(i) Government’s handling of the situation
•With 92% responses, the general public is of the opinion that the government is handling the health situation caused by COVID-19 in Malta well with 29% expressing positive views while 63% felt extremely positive. The percentage of those being extremely satisfied has increased over the past two weeks (then 54%).
•With 75% responses the general public is of the opinion that the government is handling the economic situation caused by COVID-19 in Malta well, with 40% expressing positive views while 35% felt extremely positive. 7% had negative views – this figure being in line with the research conduct 2 weeks ago and are primarily individuals who are currently in employment.
•51% of those interviewed indicated to be currently in employment. A total of 7% of respondents indicated to be currently unemployed.
•Among those in employment, half indicated to be working from home. Such figure is consistent with the study conducted 2 weeks ago.
(iii) Job Security
•Overall, those in employment do not fear losing their job, irrespective of whether the COVID-19 outbreak lasts 3 months or 6 months. Such figures being similar to the result attained two weeks ago. That said, there are distinct variances in responses between those working in the private sector as opposed to those in the public sector. 33% of those in the private sector fear losing their job in the next 3 months, with the percentage increasing to 41% if the COVID-19 outbreak had to last 6 months. Conversely, 12% of those in the public sector feared losing their job in the next 3 months, with such percentage increasing marginally (15%) if the COVID-19 outbreak had to last 6 months.
•64% of those in employment would be willing to get a wage cut to help secure their job, with the majority (81%) willing to forgo under 10%.
(iv) Locals’ concerns
•Locals were asked to indicate their level of concern on a number of factors, namely: their financial situation, their physical and mental health, the health of their loved ones and the availability of food supplies. Locals’ main concern related to the health of their loved ones and those close to them, followed by concerns for their physical health (50%) and mental health (43%). Their least concern related to the availability of food supplies (13% indicated being concerned).
(v) Income and expenditure trends
•65% indicated that their income has not altered over the past month. 33% indicated that their income had decreased (of these, 17% indicated that it had reduced considerably while 16% indicated that it had slightly decreased). Those that indicated a decline were employed primarily in the private sector. Industries they operated in varied and included among others: tourism, creative arts, manufacturing, retail, repairs and personal services, aviation and financial services.
•In terms of expenditure, 40% indicated that their expenditure had not altered over the past month. 28% indicated that their expenditure had decreased while 32% indicated that it had increased. A review of responses by age indicates that a higher percentage of those aged 25 to 34 indicated an increase in expenditure (half of those within this age bracket) than other age groups. Conversely, 63% of those falling within the 18 to 24 age bracket indicated a decrease in expenditure, such figure being significantly higher than the average.
•40% feel that they have to be careful how to spend in view of the current economic uncertainty, while 36% indicated that they are staying back from making purchases/investments.
•With 56% responses, just over half the population feels to have been personally affected in some way by COVID-19. A review of responses by age evidences a higher percentage of those aged 34 and younger indicated being personally affected (72% within this age group).
(vi) Time allocation
•A review as to how locals’ anticipate spending their time over the coming two weeks evidences locals anticipate spending more time following live news. Furthermore, with 52% responses, half the population anticipates an increase in the time they spend ‘watching movies’ and shows and ‘reading news online’.
EMCS (www.emcs.com.mt) has a dedicated team for market research, making it the leading firm for market research services in Malta. Besides any bespoke market research, EMCS has been conducting a consumer confidence monitor for a number of years. We believe that keeping tabs on consumer perceptions, confidence and views is extremely useful when managing a business in these uncertain times. Feel free to send me any email on firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to learn more about our market research services.