RESTON, Va. — New data from consumer intelligence firm Resonate suggests that despite the fact that consumers remain more concerned about the economic impact of COVID-19 than health risks, an overwhelming number are indicating that nothing shy of the availability of a vaccine will prompt their return to travel, hotels, churches, concerts, sporting events, rideshares, and other previous staples of daily life.
In addition, Resonate’s latest survey wave of more than 5,000 American consumers revealed the beginning of “new normal” behaviors in everything from shopping to sports viewing. For example, half of consumers now consider gloved and masked staff to be a requirement for them to return to physical stores. Separately, on the media front, 34.1 percent of people plan to be more engaged than before with live sports when they return. However, that engagement is likely to be happening in the comfort of their own homes, as only 11.9 percent say they will feel safe going to events with thousands of people.
The third wave of Resonate’s COVID-19 survey found that when restrictions are lifted, 76.8 percent say that they would not feel safe attending events with hundreds of people, 79.1 percent feel the same about events with thousands of people, with 52.1 percent indicating a vaccine must be widely available in order to feel comfortable.
The number of consumers who don’t expect their life to return to the pre-COVID “normal” until 2021 or later continues to grow, increasing 18.7 percent from March to May, with those in the South and Midwest over-indexing for a more than seven-month recovery. The number of people who anticipate a quick two- or three-month recovery has decreased 17.9 percent since March. About a third (34.1 percent) believe life will return to normal in four to six months. The percentage of people who believe life will never return to normal continues to trend upward from 2.1 percent in March to 5.5 percent in April and 6.5 percent in May.
More than half (61 percent) now think the economy will return to normal sometime in 2021, versus 55.2 percent who thought similarly back in March. The economic impact remains an enormous concern, with 71 percent remaining worried about their finances to a large extent.
A quarter of consumers still don’t plan to dine in at restaurants until 2021 or later. However, between April and May, 5.6 percent more people now believe they could be dining in restaurants by August 2020.
Nearly half (48 percent) of consumers don’t expect their leisure travel to return to normal until 2021 or later. However, 52.3 percent report that they will feel safe traveling within their state when restrictions are removed, compared to 36.7 percent for another state and only 10.8 percent who would feel safe traveling internationally. Meanwhile, 31.3 percent would feel safe staying in a large hotel chain compared to 21.8 percent who would feel safe renting a room or home, and more people would feel comfortable taking a flight or a train than mass transit.