Now that retailers in the U.S. have started to rev up again, what kind of shopping behaviors can we expect to see? In February 2020, we started surveying consumers just as COVID-19 became part of the conversation in the U.S. When we began, we had no idea that the pandemic would continue to be a factor in our lives more than a year later. This longitudinal study has proven to give some intriguing insights into what consumers are thinking which very well may continue for the next 12 – 18 months.
Our studies focused on how the pandemic was changing consumer shopping habits and behaviors. The good news is that in April 2021, the survey found that 32 percent fewer respondents said that they were either worried or somewhat worried about the Coronavirus than they were a year earlier. Overall, only 59 percent remained worried, compared with a high of 87 percent who felt that way in April, 2020.
We did find, however, that consumers are not quite ready to begin spending at pre-pandemic levels. Six in ten respondents continue to cut back on spending from pre-pandemic levels, just a slight increase from a year earlier. This data point is important because it indicates that people are still concerned about their jobs, inflation, and other factors which is not good news for discretionary purchases.