News about the surge in cases of the delta variant of the COVID-19 virus is starting to take a big bite out of consumer confidence, according to a recent survey.
At First Insight, we have been tracking consumer purchase behavior and spending data in a longitudinal study that began in February 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic. We have continued to conduct our poll, finding as recently as last month that confidence had been buoyed by the diminishing number of cases, rollback of mask and other mandates, and resumption of in-person activities. We hoped we were finished with the survey as spending habits seemed to be returning to pre-pandemic behavior.
Not so fast, consumers are telling us.
In just a few weeks we recorded a 25 percent spike in the number of respondents who admitted to being “very or somewhat worried” about the virus. That is the biggest one-month jump since March, 2020, just as the shutdown began.
This month (August), more than half (56 percent) said they would be cutting back on spending, an increase of 8 percent over the responses given just a month earlier.
An even more worrisome finding is that one in four of those surveyed reported that they were not vaccinated, and nearly all of the unvaccinated (90 percent) said that mandates within restaurants and other gathering places would not induce them to get the shots.