facemask shopping

Consumers’ fear is picking up again, according to new survey findings by First Insight. The poll found that in considering where to shop, the percentage of consumers feeling unsafe in shopping malls, warehouse clubs and big-box retailers has increased since the company’s survey in late April.

Notably, a majority of women (80 percent) said they feel unsafe trying beauty products, 68 percent said they feel unsafe trying on apparel in dressing rooms, and 61 percent feeling unsafe trying on shoes. In contrast, the report found that men had shown a decrease in fear to try on apparel in dressing rooms since April, with only 46 percent saying they would not feel safe.

Consumer fear also continues to show variance between generations. While 73 percent of Baby Boomers said they do not feel safe trying on clothing in dressing rooms, only 45 percent of Millennials said the same. And Generation X’s levels of fear also decreased to 49 percent. Still, Generation Z’s sentiment of fear increased slightly.

“Retailers need to be aware that while people are shopping and there is definitely pent-up demand, many consumers are still very much afraid to be in-store and to try products or use dressing rooms,” said Greg Petro, chief executive officer of First Insight. “We are seeing increasing coronavirus case numbers in states across the country, and retailers are definitely solidifying their COVID-19 policies to help customers feel safer, including mandating masks be worn, limiting people in-store and conducting temperature checks.”

Testing beauty products in-store remained a high concern for all consumers, with 62 percent reporting fear, up from 58 percent in April. Baby Boomers reported the most fear at 85 percent.

First Insight infographic

First Insight data finds consumers remain afraid to shop in-store.  Courtesy Image.

According to the report, face mask policies make consumers feel the safest when shopping in-store. And 71 percent said they felt safe when retailers practiced temperature checks at the door. Notably, the desire for contactless payment methods dropped slightly to 68 percent in July compared to 76 percent in April.

“As stores continue to operate during the pandemic, it is critical that retailers communicate with their customers, understand expectations when it comes to safety, and simultaneously offer the products they need,” Petro said. “Those that do will have the greatest chance of success in this difficult environment.”

The company’s report also finds consumers shopping has increased with a notable 44 percent increase from April shopping for apparel. Half of the respondents also said they are buying more footwear.

For More WWD Business News: 

Consumer Outlook Tempered By Uncertainty, Concern of Lingering Pandemic

Achieving Cultural Credibility Is a Must for Today’s Young Luxury Consumers

New Behavior Reports Reveal Caution Remains as Attention Shifts

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