Coresight: Consumers Shifting Shopping Expectations

According to the latest Coronavirus Insights U.S. Survey report from Coresight Research, consumers remain wary of how the COVID-19 outbreak and measures to contain it will proceed, with online retail again benefiting from their concern.

In the new survey, conducted the week of May 20, consumer expectation of the crisis length increased again as 62.2% of respondents now anticipate the severe impact of the outbreak to last more than six months from its start versus 59.2% in the week before.

Among respondents expecting to retain changed behaviors, more, 60.4%, anticipated less physical interaction versus a week prior. Still, Coresight noted, an overall upward trend reflects a growing realization that post-lockdown normality will include social distancing.

In addition, in the May 20 week versus the week earlier, a slightly higher proportion of consumers expected to switch shopping from stores to e-commerce after movement restrictions end and to shop less overall in the future.

So, what will consumers do as those restrictions end? The top priority is meeting with friends or family locally followed by getting a haircut and other grooming and beauty services, dine in a restaurant, buy clothing, footwear or accessories, and arrange a trip. Buying home, garden or furniture products was ninth overall in priority, down slightly from the week prior but still ahead of going to a movie theater, playing sports or buying beauty grooming or fragrance products.

Apparel made gains after experiencing a severe drop in purchase interest as the coronavirus began to sweep across the country in March. The need for seasonal clothing as spring progresses and movement restrictions ease will likely influence the apparel purchasing expectation, which gained almost three points week to week to 21.6%. Those demonstrating the biggest week over week gains in apparel purchasing expectations were consumers 18 to 29, up more than seven points, and consumers 30 to 44, up almost five points.

As to where they might shop, Coresight noted that more than half of consumers still expect to avoid shopping centers.