Consumer Recovery Report: A return to pre-pandemic retail habits?

Consumer Recovery Report: A return to pre-pandemic retail habits?
May 13, 2021

In the latest version of our COVID-19 Monitor Survey, hard-hit consumers look likely to return to pre-pandemic habits in retail.

Editor’s Note (5/13/2021):This article includes findings from ICF’s eleventh wave of data collection that was fielded April 15 – 22. This wave collected 1,000 completes using a census-balanced, national non-probability sample. The new information, shared below, examines the impact of COVID-19 on the American public as well as their attitudes toward slowing the spread of COVID-19 and their current and anticipated future consumer behaviors. Learn more about the ICF COVID-19 Monitor Survey of U.S. Adults.

In the first refresh of our COVID-19 Monitor Survey since December, ICF Next approached U.S. consumers with a series of newly designed questions regarding the impact of the pandemic on their personal and professional lives, pandemic consumer behaviors, anticipated future behaviors, responses to vaccination efforts, responses to public health measures, and more. Of particular note, we added a series of questions regarding some pandemic-era retail shopping behaviors and whether consumers anticipated maintaining these behaviors after the pandemic subsides. Our survey reveals a consumer base markedly impacted by the pandemic—and shows signs of significant behavior changes going forward.

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More respondents reported declining income than increasing income since before the pandemic.

Consumers have been hard-hit by COVID-19. Despite an improving job market, 76.4% of respondents reported that their household income has stayed about the same or decreased since 2019.

Consumers are quite confident in retail and grocery brands’ ability to respond to the pandemic but remain skeptical of restaurants’ responses.

Consumers express a high degree of confidence in retail and grocery brands to deal with pandemic. However, despite a lifting of restrictions in many states and a high degree of COVID-related precaution compliance, restaurant brands fare significantly worse in this measure with 46% of respondents reporting that they have “not very much” confidence or “no confidence at all” in restaurant brands’ ability to deal with the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Pandemic-era grocery shopping habits will likely give way to pre-pandemic behaviors.

A key trend in the pandemic-era grocery space has been an increasing effort on the part of consumers to consolidate their shopping to a limited group of stores. While many have predicted that these habits would continue post-pandemic, our survey respondents report a near-complete anticipated return to the their-pandemic grocery shopping habits.

Watch this space

How will American consumers’ feelings and behaviors change as the summer begins and the national vaccination campaign winds down? We will report key findings from our data collection efforts over the coming months and share this information.

Meet the authors
  1. John Boyle, Senior Advisor, Survey Research

    John is a research expert with more than 30 years of experience in the design, execution, analysis, and reporting of large-scale health surveys. View bio

  2. James “Jamie” Dayton, Senior Vice President, Survey Research

    Jamie is a survey research expert with over 35 years of experience in strategy and implementation in the health, environment, and transportation industries. View bio

  3. Rachel Kinder

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