When it comes to consumer sentiment amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Chinese and U.S. shoppers are seeing the glass as half full while those in other countries are less optimistic, according to a study conducted by Simon-Kucher & Partners, the global strategy and marketing consulting firm.
The sentiment survey, which was done between June 1 and July 1 (prior to a resurgence of COVID-19 in certain regions of the U.S.), included more than 12,000 respondents from the U.S., the U.K., Germany and China.
The firm said in its report that in China, 42 percent of those consumers polled expressed a “favorable outlook” of their future situation and the economy. Authors of the report also noted that one-quarter of those surveyed from the U.S. “expressed an optimistic outlook, as compared to 15 percent in the U.K. and 18 percent in Germany, where the spread of the virus is much more contained.”
Regarding spending, a high number of shoppers polled in each country continue to dole out money for “nonessential” items. “Despite the uncertainty, a consistent 66 percent of U.S. respondents acknowledged that they are continuing to make nonessential purchases,” the report stated. “The number of U.S. consumers making nonessential purchases is higher than in the U.K. (54 percent) and China (55 percent), but not as high as Germany (73 percent).”
Other findings revealed include a spending sentiment that is based on how long the pandemic will last. “Of course, the willingness to spend on nonessentials does differ drastically between U.S. consumers who believe the COVID-19 pandemic will be over within three months versus those who predict the pandemic will last a year or longer,” the report stated. “In fact, those who think the pandemic will last a year or longer indicated that they are cutting back on spending at restaurants and bars by 41 percent, as compared to only 17 percent by those who think it will be over in three months.”
Ricardo Rubi, global head of consumer goods and retail at Simon-Kucher, said the survey also showed consumers “are not so much cutting categories or nonessential purchases entirely, but more shifting the amount they are willing to spend or the frequency in which they make those purchases.”
As a result, Rubi said brands need to “make sure they have the right assortment and prices to capture this new behavior — having products that cover different price points and better stocking consumers up since they are not buying as often.”