Half of Consumers Expect Reopening Delayed Until 2022 or Later

CHICAGO, Sept. 9, 2021 – Numerator, a data and tech company serving the market research space, reports a reversal in consumer comfort with reopening activities as concern over the Delta variant leaps. Survey results show the following key findings:

  • Concern over COVID-19 jumped in August as the Delta variant spread. Nearly half (46%) of consumers say that they are highly concerned about COVID, up 10 percentage points from July 2021. More than a quarter (26%) rate their concern a 10/10 – a level not seen since March 2021 (25% of consumers).
  • Half of all consumers are more concerned about the Delta variant than the original strain. 51% say they are specifically concerned about this variant, and 50% are more worried about this variant than they were about the original strain of COVID-19. 3 in 5 consumers (61%) think the Delta variant has the potential to push their region back into lockdowns.
  • Half of vaccinated consumers are worried about being infected. 66% of vaccinated consumers say they are generally worried about the Delta variant, 62% about adult family and friends becoming infected, and 48% on becoming infected themselves.
  • Among consumers who will not get the vaccine, the greatest concerns are focused on mandates, closures and lockdowns. 44% are worried about reimposed or extended mask mandates, 43% on new lockdowns or restrictions, and 32% are concerned about the impact on students returning to schools.

COVID-19 Concerns by Vaccination Status
Percentage of Consumers Reporting

Concern Percent of Vaccinated Consumers Percent of Consumers Who Won’t Get the Vaccine
Delta variant 66% 21%
Adult friends & family becoming infected 62% 29%
Becoming infected myself 48% 28%
Children becoming infected 46% 25%
Impact on students 45% 32%
Lockdowns 41% 43%
Mask mandates 34% 44%
Travel restrictions 30% 27%
None of the above 1% 16%

After two months of increasing comfort levels with many activities and behaviors, consumers are back to feeling cautious, and changing their behaviors as a result:

  • Consumers are less comfortable with indoor activities, particularly shopping mask-less.
    • Consumers indicating they are comfortable shopping without a mask dropped 15 percentage points from July to August
    • Comfort levels decreased significantly in August for attending a concert or show (-13 points), gathering mask-less with friends and family (-11 points), attending in-person classes (-11 points), and eating inside a restaurant (-9 points).
  • Half of consumers now prefer wearing masks in public.
    • More than half of consumers (53%) say they prefer to wear masks in public at this point in time (63% of vaccinated consumers vs 25% of unvaccinated consumers).
    • 46% of consumers say they prefer to shop at retailers that require masks (56% of vaccinated vs 22% of unvaccinated).
    • Over 2 in 5 (43%) think proof of vaccination should be required for public indoor spaces (60% of vaccinated vs 12% of unvaccinated).

Changes in Consumer Comfort Levels: August vs July 2021
% of consumers somewhat or extremely comfortable with activity in August vs July

Activity Point change from August vs July
Shopping inside a store with no mask -15 points
Attending a concert or show -13 points
Gathering with family & friends with no masks -11 points
Attending in-person classes -11 points
Eating inside a restaurant -9 points
Commuting via public transportation -9 points
Going to a bar or club -8 points
Flying on an airplane -7 points
Traveling for leisure -7 points
Attending religious services -7 points
Staying at a hotel -6 points
Eating outside at a restaurant -5 points
Ordering takeout food -5 points
Gathering with family & friends with masks -3 points

With the rise of the Delta variant, consumers have adjusted their expectations for a return to pre-COVID times:

  • Consumers are less optimistic. 1 in 5 consumers (20%) say they are highly optimistic about a return to normal, down from 1 in 3 (33%) at the beginning of the summer.
  • Vaccinated consumers are more optimistic than unvaccinated. Among those who do not plan to get the vaccine, 12% say they are not at all optimistic about a return to normal, compared to 3% of vaccinated consumers.
  • Half of consumers believe reopening is pushed until 2022. Timing expectations for a return to normal have significantly shifted. Nearly half (48%) of consumers say they expect full reopening to be delayed until 2022 or later, up from 23% of consumers who said the same in July and 18% in June.
  • Consumers are returning to COVID behaviors. After steady increases throughout 2021, the number of consumers who said they had resumed pre-COVID behaviors decreased for the first time, dropping from 39% in July to 27% in August.

*Results are based on a Numerator consumer sentiment survey fielded to 1000+ Numerator panelists on a monthly basis. Data in this release is primarily based on Waves 5 and 6 of the survey, fielded on 7/15/21 and 8/13/21, respectively. Responses are shown at a total level and also broken out by COVID-19 vaccine status and intention, based on Numerator’s Premium Vaccine People Groups.

About Numerator
Numerator is a data and tech company bringing speed and scale to market research. Headquartered in Chicago, IL, Numerator has more than 2,400 employees worldwide. The company blends proprietary data with advanced technology to create unique insights for the market research industry that has been slow to change. The majority of Fortune 100 companies are Numerator clients.

View this release on PR Newswire.


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