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COVID-19 Consumer Sentiments & Behaviors

Numerator’s monthly Consumer Behavior & Sentiment Study provides ongoing insights to help brands better understand COVID-19’s impact on consumer behavior and how consumers plan to navigate new normals in COVID and Post-COVID times. Check back each month to learn more about how consumers are feeling, what they're comfortable doing, and when they expect to return to normal behaviors and activities. Additionally, get insights into emerging consumer concerns like the economy and inflation.

Consumer Concern Regarding COVID-19

COVID-19 concern continues to stay

below January figures.


  • Concern over COVID-19 held steady from April into May. 1 in 3 (34%) consumers say they are highly concerned about COVID, down from 42% three months ago and 50% in January.
  • General worry remains centered on becoming infected with COVID, either personally (47%) or concern for other adult friends & family (52%). Over 1 in 3 are concerned about their children becoming infected or reimposed lockdown measures. 

COVID-19 Impact on Consumer Behavior & Comfort Levels

Comfort levels fluctuated for some out of home behaviors this month.


  • After sharp decreases around December and January, the last four months have seen comfort levels for almost all out-of-home activities rise. May has specifically seen increased comfort with attending a concert or show, commuting via public transportation, and attending in-person classes.
  • Some consumers are still more likely to remain cautious when in a public setting. Just over a third prefer wearing masks in public (38%) and look to shop at retailers that require masks (34%) or proof of vaccination (35%). 

Consumer Expectations for Post-COVID Normals

Consumers think a "new normal" is here to stay.


  • Despite continuously increasing comfort levels, many still have reservations about whether society will ever truly return to pre-COVID norms. Over 7 in 10 said they agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, "I think we will learn to live with COVID-19 rather than ever fully returning to a pre-COVID 'normal.'”
  • 2 in 3 consumers are expecting normalcy by the end of 2022, down from 75% in March and on par with the start of the year (67%). 40% say they are already living normally, up from prior months.
  • Consumer confidence has stayed flat in regards to new normal timelines. 31% think a return to normal will happen more slowly than previously expected, identical to April but higher than both March and February.

Economic Concerns Faced by Consumers

Economic concern remains high for many consumers.


  • The economy remains the predominant area of concern for most consumers as they continue to feel the effects of inflation. Almost 3 in 4 rate their level of economic concern as an 8/10 or higher (74%), higher than any other month this year.
  • Nearly 9 in 10 (86%) say rising prices on essential goods & services are their primary concern. Over 2 in 3 worry about price hikes on non-essential goods & services and/or product & supply shortages.

For more information on inflation, visit our Inflation Insights page. 


About the Survey

Numerator's consumer sentiment survey is fielded to 1,000+ consumers on a monthly basis. All consumers are active members of Numerator's 100,000 person OmniPanel. Responses are shown at a total level and also broken out by COVID-19 vaccine status & intention, based on Numerator’s Premium Vaccine People Groups. 

Waves 1-3 (March - May) of this monthly survey were broken out based on vaccine status & intention information gathered from consumers February 2021

Waves 4+ (June+) are broken out based on updated vaccine status & intention information gathered from consumers May 2021. Breakouts include Vaccinated & Won't Get Vaccine. Consumers who are unsure or still awaiting their vaccine are included in the survey sample and total rollup, but are not specifically broken out given their small overall percent of the total population. 
Timing & Sample Size of Waves:

  • Wave 1: March 15, n= 2,083
  • Wave 2: April 18, n= 2,262
  • Wave 3: May 17, n= 2,316
  • Wave 4: June 12, n= 1,069 (*updated sample information)
  • Wave 5: July 15, n= 1,071
  • Wave 6: August 13, n= 1,108 (*added & tweaked select questions)
  • Wave 7: September 17, n=1,085
  • Wave 8: October 18, n=1,080
  • Wave 9: November 17, n=1,072
  • Wave 10: December 12, n=1,130 (*tweaked select questions)
  • Wave 11: January 9, n=1,039
  • Wave 12: February 10, n=1,038
  • Wave 13: March 9, n=1,021
  • Wave 14: April 14, n=1,041
  • Wave 15: May 12, n=1,045

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