Welcome back to Consumer $ense and to another segment of Consumers Tell All where we ask your opinion on a hot topic to gain insight into the consumer mind.
All around the world restrictions are beginning to ease after a several month economic shutdown in most places due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Small businesses, retailers, dine-in restaurants, entertainment and anything deemed nonessential was closed to the public for their health and safety. With many states seeing a decline in cases , they are beginning to allow many businesses to reopen their doors and invite consumers back in!
The real question is, do consumers yet feel safe enough to return to shopping like normal for things like clothing, cars, and experiences like going to the movies or attending a zoo?
We turned to consumers themselves to find out the answers to many questions that businesses might have as they contemplate ways to make the consumer shopping experience post-quarantine, both safe and inviting.
First up- where exactly do consumers NOT feel safe going just yet, and where do they feel safe?
Overall, a surprising number of consumers feel comfortable at a large majority of places. However, of those that they do NOT feel safe, movie theaters and outdoor entertainment such as amusement parks, pools, national sports games, etc. are at the top of the list.
According to AMC, they expect to reopen almost all their theaters in July taking precautions such as enforcing capacity limits, using virtual ordering for concessions, and sanitizing all the seats prior to each showtime. They are even being encouraged to use disposable seat covers.
Amusement parks are taking similar precautions by enforcing capacity limits, checking temperatures at the gate and requiring face masks.
Of the places that consumers feel relatively safe are grocery stores, salons and barbers, and general apparel retailers. People are anxious to get their haircuts!
With this information in mind, would the mandatory requirement to wear a mask encourage more consumers to consider shopping in these places where they don’t feel safe? After all, it is either required or recommended in almost every state in the US to wear a face mask when shopping.
Most of our consumers said, NO actually. A face mask would not necessarily make them feel safer to attend the places that they do not feel safe to currently.
So if not a mask, what would help?
Our consumers had some great suggestions. Many would like to see capacity limits enforced and continued strict social distancing.
Other ideas included sanity measures. One consumer mentioned, “I think the spray and body temperature checks that some areas have talked about would be helpful!”
Another said “If they were disinfecting each thing after usage”.
Overall, capacity limits and strict cleaning measures could encourage consumers to think about getting back out there to shop.
We also inquired among consumers their online shopping habits and what they would look like post-pandemic.
First we wanted to know, have consumers been significantly more reliant on online shopping since the pandemic?
As expected, 65% of our surveyed consumers said they HAVE been more reliant on online shopping.
In terms of the future, consumers say their decision to order online or buy in store is heavily influenced by the product they are looking for.
For instance, our consumers typically prefer to purchase groceries, clothing and consumer durables such as cars in person rather than online. Grocery delivery services, such as Instacart, have seen a significant increase in usage since the start of the pandemic, yet still our consumers prefer to physically shop in store for these items.
Consumers are more comfortable to purchase household necessities and electronics online.
Overall, when do consumers anticipate feeling safe to shop in physical locations once again?
It was mixed- 43% of our consumers feel comfortable to shop in these areas when they are open! They feel that retailers and other businesses are taking the proper precautions to ensure their consumers are safe and healthy in their environment. Yet 22% say they are still unsure.
Feeling like you’re ready to get back out there and shop? Check out our blog on POST-QUARANTINE SALES to watch out for and take advantage of all the great discounts while they’re being offered!
Consumers Tell All is a series on Consumer $ense where we gain insights on the consumer mind and get their opinion on hot topics in retail, saving money, new technology, and MORE! Let us know what you want to see next in the comments
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Author: Alyson Maguire | Content Manager