As the U.S. begins to reopen, IBM’s latest COVID-19 consumer study reveals new insights into how consumers plan to shop, work, and travel. The study follows a similar study conducted in April that surveyed over 18,000 American consumers. Notably different between the reports is an overall consumer resolve for preparation and more permanent changes in behavior.
According to IBM, the results of the survey signaled continued fear. More than 60 percent of respondents reported they believe there will likely be more global pandemic events, like COVID-19, in the future, and two-thirds said they are concerned about a potential second wave of the coronavirus hitting later this year.
Congruently, one-fourth of respondents say they plan to use personal vehicles exclusively for transportation. And 60 percent of this group said they planned to buy a personal vehicle if they did not already own one, the remaining respondents of the group said they plan to rent a vehicle until they feel safe returning to shared transpiration.
Consumer retail preferences have similarly shown a significant shift. As a result of COVID-19, 35 percent of consumers said they were likely to use contactless payment options when shopping. Further, 21 percent indicated they had been shopping less overall during the pandemic and 27 percent said they do not plan to visit shopping centers or malls this year.
At the same time, consumers have an increased preference to continue working from home. Eighty-one percent of respondents now say they would like to continue working from home at least part of the time and 61 percent said they would like working from home to become the primary way of working.
As employees return to the office, respondents reported they will require a careful re-entry. Many felt strongly that employers should work toward broad measures to protect employees from potential exposure to the coronavirus and moreover, allow flexibility that will ensure mental health and well-being.
IBM noted two trend takeaways from the research being needs for accelerated adoption of technology, specifically Cloud and AI, and an investment in people, culture and skills. The report stated, “It is the combination of great technology with engaged, agile employees that will create the winning experience and value propositions that consumers are demanding.”
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