While many states and businesses are reopening, are consumers ready to come back? New data from consumer intelligence firm Resonate, a provider of A.I.-driven customer data and intelligence, suggests the majority of consumers are not.

Despite the fact that consumers remain more concerned about the economic impact of COVID-19 than they are about the health risks, an overwhelming number of consumers are indicating that nothing shy of the availability of a vaccine will prompt their return to travel, hotels, churches, concerts, sporting events, rideshares and other previous staples of daily life.

In addition, Reston,VA- based Resonate’s latest survey wave of more than 5,000 American consumers revealed that we’re starting to witness the beginning of “new normal” behaviors in everything from shopping to sports viewing. For example, half of consumers now consider gloved and masked staff to be a requirement for them to return to physical stores. Separately, on the media front, 34.1% of people plan to be more engaged than before with live sports when they return. However, that engagement is likely to be happening in the comfort of their own homes, as only 11.9% say they will feel safe going to events with thousands of people.

“No matter what level of business operation is permitted by state and local governments, the reopenings and resumption of business mean nothing if organizations don’t take the steps necessary to ensure customers feel safe reengaging with their services,” said Bryan Gernert, Chief Executive Officer of Resonate. “At Resonate, we’re committed to keeping our finger on the pulse on evolving consumer sentiments at this critical time. It’s vital our clients have the freshest insights to help guide their reopening planning to meet consumers where they are, even as that changes week to week.”

Additional insights from the third wave of Resonate’s wide-reaching COVID-19 survey include the following:

  • When restrictions are lifted, 76.8% say that they would not feel safe attending events with hundreds of people, 79.1% feel the same about events with thousands of people, with 52.1% indicating a vaccine must be widely available in order to feel comfortable.
  • The number of consumers who don’t expect their life to return to the pre-COVID “normal” until 2021 or later continues to grow, increasing 18.7% from March to May, with those in the South and Midwest overindexing for a 7+ month recovery. Those who anticipate a quick 2-3 month recovery has decreased 17.9% since March. 34.1% believe life will return to normal in 4-6 months. The percentage of people who believe life will never return to normal continues to trend upward from 2.1% in March to 5.5% in April to 6.5% in May.
  • 61% now think the economy will return to normal sometime in 2021, versus only 55.2% who thought similarly back in March. The economic impact remains an enormous concern, with 71% remaining worried about their finances to a large extent.
  • 25% of consumers still don’t plan to dine in at restaurants until 2021 or later. However, between April and May, 5.6% more people now believe they could be dining in restaurants by August 2020.
  • Online grocery delivery saw a 12.1% drop in shoppers increasing usage, and 19% of people are increasing their visits to grocery stores or pharmacies.
  • Once open, 60.5% are eager to get back to strolling through Target and other big box stores, rather than shopping online, but they expect to see staff wearing masks and gloves (50%) and be aware of nightly disinfection store protocols (47.9%).
  • 48% of consumers don’t expect their leisure travel to return to normal until 2021 or later. However, 52.3% report that they will feel safe traveling within their state when restrictions are removed, compared to 36.7% for another state and only 10.8% who would feel safe traveling internationally.
  • 31.3% would feel safe staying in a large hotel chain compared to 21.8% who would feel safe renting a room or home (e.g., Airbnb), and more people would feel comfortable taking a flight or a train than mass transit.
  • While cable television watching has decreased, 58.5% have increased their consumption of streaming TV. Meanwhile, ESPN’s reported viewer engagement numbers doubled, potentially as a result of series like The Last Dance.
  • 52.9% Americans report their belief that the federal government is effectively handling the COVID-19 crisis has declined, continuing a trend since March. 6.8% more people say their trust of the federal government has decreased to a large extent between March and May.
  • 37.3% say they support replacing private insurance compared to 25% in March.
  • 47% of consumers say they are now more supportive of closing the U.S. borders to foreign visitors and immigrants.

Resonate’s COVID-19 research is being made available, free of charge, to help organizations thrive during this challenging economic time. For Resonate Ignite Platform customers, the data and insights are fully connected to the Resonate National Consumer Study. Customers are able to easily enrich their first-party data with this deep COVID-19 data set to conduct deeper analysis to uncover nuances relative to their brand, customers or products.  Learn more about Resonate’s COVID-19 research and download the latest findings here.

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