Apr 30, 2020

4/30 Update: The Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Consumer Behavior

man and woman new york city wearing masks
The data in this post is from an earlier version of our COVID-19 Consumer Sentiment Survey. Click below to view the most recent version of these insights.




Though most of the country is still under stay-at-home orders, this week, select states began lifting these orders and reopening non-essential businesses. Overall levels of consumer impact and concern were down slightly this week, even more notably in select “reopened states.” In comparing these reopened states to the general public, we begin to see a picture of what the path to the new normal will look like: a slow, cautious climb to equilibrium and consumer confidence. 

9 in 10 consumers have changed their shopping behavior as a result of Coronavirus

This week, 90% of consumers said their shopping behavior had been impacted by Coronavirus; in select states that have started reopening, this impact was slightly lower at 86%. Even as we begin to see more states lift stay-at-home orders and get businesses up-and-running again, we expect to see continued elevated levels of impact on consumer behavior given ongoing uncertainties, supply chain disruptions, and risks of potential resurgences. 

2 in 3 consumers still experiencing product shortages

Across the board, many of the shopping impacts we’ve seen as a result of COVID-19 were down slightly this week versus last. Despite this marginal improvement, two-thirds of individuals still struggled with product shortages, and more than half continued to delay non-essential purchases. In states where non-essential businesses began reopening, the number of individuals delaying purchases was slightly lower. All other behaviors in these reopened states were in-line with national levels, though, making clear that reopening doesn’t mean an immediate return to normal.

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

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

16% 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; 39% of click-and-collect users said the same. While last week’s numbers hinted at a potential slow-down in online newcomers, this week’s show that new adopters are still jumping online at an unprecedented rate. 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.

Concern over Coronavirus at lowest level since mid-March

This week, 28% of consumers rated themselves as “very concerned (10/10)” about coronavirus, which is the lowest level we’ve seen since March 24. In states that have begun reopening, the level of concern was only slightly lower, with 26% rating their concern 10/10, indicating it will take more than relaxing guidelines to reinstate consumer confidence and comfort.

Concerns over social and economic impact remain high

Inability to see friends and family, economic impact, and risk of infection continued to be the most-cited concerns. In reopened states, there was a notable decline in concern over being confined to home and inability to see friends or family, but the worries were still there. Additionally, other fears like becoming infected and impact on the economy were equal or higher in these reopened states, further solidifying that 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 ever-changing nature of the outbreak, we anticipate seeing fluctuations in behavior, impact and levels of concern in the coming weeks. As seen this week, 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 a 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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