Coronavirus has forcefully disrupted life for billions of people across the globe and uncertainty has become a constant for not only individuals but businesses as well.
To better understand consumer sentiments at this time, Astound Commerce’s Astound Insights team conducted surveys of global consumers in the U.S., Canada, Europe and the Middle East on March 10 and March 11. Findings reflect consumer concerns, changes in daily life, and overall outlook on what the future holds.
Despite an average of 57 percent of respondents reporting they have altered day-to-day activities to be “as contactless as possible,” only 46 percent of consumers say they are eating more meals at home. Additionally, just 43 percent of consumers reported having decreased planning trips, vacations and attending public events.
In a broader sense, 75 percent of consumer respondents reported having fears concerning the coronavirus outbreak. The highest fear level was in the Middle East at 96 percent, with the lowest levels of fear in Europe and the U.S. at 68 percent and 69 percent, respectively.
Respondents also shared that they have been impacted by coronavirus in regards to shopping behavior. Almost half of all consumers, across location, reported to have been faced with out-of-stock product issues — in the U.S. specifically, 38 percent of consumers claimed to have had these issues.
Further, 31 percent of shoppers reported they had made more online purchases during this time, though only 23 percent have decreased purchases at physical stores. Apparel and luxury items were found to have seen less purchases with a 15 percent decrease in the U.S and a 19 percent average decrease across all areas.
Boston Consulting Group has found similar data in weekly consumer surveys. This week’s snapshot by BCG presents insights from research in the U.S. market from March 6 to March 9.
BCG’s research revealed fear as a driver impacting consumer behavior from everything including travel, everyday activities, work practices and government interventions. Data showed 46 percent of surveyed U.S. consumers believe “the world is in serious danger,” and further 56 percent of consumers believe there will be a recession. When asked, 65 percent of consumers said they believe the “worst impacts are ahead.”
While “fear” and “death” were the top works that survey participants associated with coronavirus, “overblown” and “hype” also ranked among the top five terms cited.
The report notes “consumers are already reporting expected changes in their spending patterns over the next six months.” While 29 percent anticipate saving more, they also predict a 27 percent decrease on discretionary items such as fashion and luxury goods.
Despite fear leading a majority of consumer’s decision making, BCG’s findings showed slight optimism from 22 percent of consumers who expected to spend more on leisure travel with 25 percent of this group expecting to capitalize on great deals potentially resulting from coronavirus.
In BCG’s next snapshot, the company will examine how consumer perspectives have changed in the U.S. market in the time since restrictions have been made to air travel, major sports have been paused, and more companies have instituted work-from-home policies.
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