May 28, 2020

5-28 Update: The Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Consumer Behavior

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To help support our clients during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Numerator will provide ongoing analysis into consumer behavior and sentiment by conducting ongoing surveys of verified buyers.
Access the latest version of these insights here. We will continue to keep all prior iterations of these survey insights available on our blog. 



Across the country, states and cities have lifted their shelter-in-place orders and begun moving into the early phases of their reopening plans. For many, this means the ability to visit restaurants, salons, and other businesses previously deemed “non-essential.” In this latest iteration of our consumer sentiment survey, we saw a decline in COVID-19’s impact on shopping behavior and the level of concern consumers have regarding the virus. We also asked consumers how they felt about phased reopening plans, and which newly reinstated activities they were likely to resume in the coming weeks. 

Consumers still hesitant to resume indoor social activities

Of those surveyed, 71% said their regions had entered at least Phase 1 of a reopening plan, which allows some non-essential businesses to reopen their doors. The majority (45%) of these individuals said the reopening had not changed their level of concern regarding the virus, but many (40%) said their concerns had increased slightly as their regions began reopening. Attitudes surrounding reopening are split-- 44% believe their region is reopening at the right pace, 33% think it’s moving too quickly, and 23% believe reopening was overdue. 

Many consumers indicated an intent to resume personal grooming services, to shop at stores that were previously closed, and to visit public, outdoor spaces. They were unlikely to plan on dining-in at restaurants or going to bars, gyms or movie theaters, despite many states allowing for the reopening of these types of businesses with proper social distancing measures in place. As we ease into the reopening process, businesses should expect a slow return to any out-of-home social activities and behaviors. 

COVID-19 impact on consumer behavior down from prior weeks 

This week, 85% of consumers said their shopping behavior had been impacted by Coronavirus, the lowest level we’ve seen in two months. Though the numbers are still high, we expect to see a sustained, slow decline in impact as more businesses get up-and-running again. However, given ongoing uncertainties, supply chain disruptions, and risks of potential resurgences in cases, it is likely we will continue to see fairly elevated levels of impact and occasional increases before we see a full return to normal.

Product shortages, delaying purchases and stock-up behaviors all down this week 

Across the board, many of the shopping impacts we’ve seen as a result of COVID-19 were down significantly this week. This is expected, given the widespread reopening of many non-essential stores and businesses, and we anticipate continued declines as states progress through their phased reopenings.

Online delivery and click-and-collect services continue to attract new users

Three-fourths of consumers surveyed said they had placed an online delivery (ship-to-home) order in the past week, and over half said they had placed an online order for pick-up (click-and-collect). 

12% of those who placed an online ship-to-home order indicated it was their first time ever or first time in the past six months doing so; 33% of click-and-collect users said the same. While these numbers will fluctuate week-to-week, the overall trend is clear: there is a large, sustained shift online that doesn’t appear to be stopping soon. Retailers must continue to prioritize and invest in these delivery and click-and-collect options. For a more in-depth look at Click & Collect, take a look at our latest report

Concern over Coronavirus at lowest level since mid-March

This week, 20% of consumers rated themselves as “very concerned (10/10)” about coronavirus, which is the lowest level we’ve seen since we began running our survey in early March. After reaching a peak the first week of April, we saw a few weeks of elevated concern, followed by a sustained decline. Though the severity of concern seems to be lessening, 79% of individuals still rate themselves as somewhat concerned (5/10) or higher.

Concerns over social and economic impact remain high

Economic impact and risk of infection continued to be the primary concerns cited by consumers. Although many states began reopening and allowing for small or socially-distanced gatherings, inability to see friends and family remained one of the top concerns as well. Even as the country begins reopening, it’s going to take time to rebuild confidence and feelings of safety and security in this time of COVID-19.

Looking Ahead

Given the fast-changing nature of the outbreak, we anticipate continued fluctuations in behavior, impact and levels of concern in the coming weeks. As seen recently, even the lifting of stay-at-home orders will not be a quick-fix for businesses or consumers, but rather will initiate a slow return to a new normal. Now more than ever, it will be important to monitor consumer behavior and sentiment in order to navigate reopening communities and adjusting to this new normal.

Numerator will continue to closely monitor the situation to ensure brands and retailers have the most up-to-date information on consumer behavior. Each week during the outbreak we will publish a variety of resources to help you understand COVID-19’s impact on consumers. All of these resources can be found on our Coronavirus Research Center.

For more information on how your brand or category is affected by COVID-19, please contact your Numerator Customer Success and Consultants or get in touch with us.










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