New report shows impact of COVID-19’s impact on consumers

Suzy, a leading on-demand consumer insights platform, has released data from a recent presentation given by CEO and Founder Matt Britton on the effects that Coronavirus is already having on consumer behavior and sentiment across the United States.

Entitled “Coronavirus and the State of the U.S. Consumer, Part 2,” the presentation was initially given on March 20th to business leaders across several key industries. Data was sourced from a census-weighted panel of 866 consumers on the Suzy platform, and collected in real time between March 18th and March 19th. Here is the full research report.

Among other concerns, this latest report addresses the following key takeaways:

Concern is setting in
Overall, 71% of Americans are now “very concerned” about the news surrounding COVID-19, compared to 47% who said the same thing two weeks ago. The specific fears consumers expressed, in order of magnitude, were:

  • Health of family
  • Personal health
  • Job security
  • The Economy

Spreading the virus to others
59% of consumers now believe the COVID-19 crisis will last up to three months; 25% believe the crisis will last four to six months, and 10% believe it will last over six months.

Purchasing trends are changing
54% of consumers are no longer considering the purchase of big-ticket items (homes, cars, trips, luxury goods) over the next three months. Instead, consumers are focusing on two tiers of consumable products, which Britton has deemed the “Survival” tier and the “Sanity” tier:

Tier 1 (Survival) Products
Tier 2 (Sanity) Products

  • 74% are buying more food & beverages
  • 50% are buying more personal care Items
  • 47% are buying more household cleaning Items
  • 33% are buying more over the counter medicine
  • 24% are buying more alcoholic beverages
  • 22% are buying more entertainment
  • 21% are buying more beauty products
  • 15% are buying more electronics

Where consumers are buying their products has also changed. Over the last two weeks, consumers are beginning to fear crowding and lack of inventory, and said they are shopping less at wholesale and big box retailers (at a decrease rate of 33% and 35%, respectively).

Meanwhile, despite concerns about deliverability of packages, online shopping has increased 31% in the past two weeks; visits to local grocery stores have increased 28%.

Fast food is thriving — For now
Interestingly, 38% of consumers said that they’ve been visiting quick service restaurants more in the past week, possibly as an alternative to sit-down restaurants.

Franchises with the highest increase in visits include:

  • McDonald’s: 58%
  • Dunkin’ Donuts: 40%
  • Burger King: 38%
  • Starbucks: 36%
  • Wendy’s 35%
  • Chipotle: 35%

However, this might not be the case for long; 42% of consumers said that they do not trust the safety of any food prepared by QSRs.

Britton also announced plans to provide more webinars in the future to continually update companies on how consumer behavior changes and evolves over the course of this crisis. In addition, the Suzy website is now home to a Consumer Insights Hub for information related to COVID-19, including blog posts, a sentiment tracker, links to past webinars, the latest statistics from Suzy’s real-time audience network, and more.

 

 

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