Consumer Confidence Waning Again With COVID-19 Variant on the Rise According to First Insight Survey

– Proof of Vaccinations for Entry to Restaurants and Other Establishments Not Swaying Those Unwilling to Get Vaccinated

– Low Vaccination Rate Among Women and Millennials Could Hamper Back-to-School Sales

Despite gains made in consumer confidence as recently as July, 2021, a new consumer study conducted last week by First Insight has indicated that the unvaccinated plan to stay that way and that the Delta variant is negatively affecting consumer confidence in the U.S.

Of the respondents unwilling to get vaccinated, 90 percent of them indicated that they won’t consider getting the vaccine to ensure access to restaurants and businesses across the country that have begun to implement proof-of-vaccine mandates.

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“The Impact of Coronavirus on Consumer Purchase Decisions and Behaviors.”

Additionally, the survey saw a 25 percent increase since July 2021 in the number of consumers admitting that they are “very or somewhat worried” about the Coronavirus, from 51 percent to 64 percent, the highest one-month jump recorded since March, 2020. The recent findings further indicate that more than half (56 percent) of the consumers surveyed last week will be cutting back on their spending, an increase of 8 percent over last month.

Greg Petro, CEO of First Insight, said, “It is very telling that a mere 10 percent of respondents say they would consider getting the vaccine due to some businesses and restaurants requiring proof of vaccination. It appears that people’s minds are made up about whether to get vaccinated and more education may be required to change their minds. Hopefully, we will spend the time and effort to do so for everyone’s sake, thus allowing everyone to make his or her own, educated choice.”

Since the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, First Insight has been engaged in a longitudinal study, polling more than 10,000 American consumers in total balanced across gender, geography and generations to gauge their overall concern about the virus, how COVID-19 will affect their spending, and whether the vaccine’s availability would alter their shopping behavior. This most recent study was fielded on August 5, 2021.

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Notably, as the back-to-school shopping season kicks into high gear, safety concerns around in-store shopping have also increased over the past month. Fifty-three percent of respondents report that they feel unsafe trying on products in dressing rooms, 49 percent feel unsafe trying on shoes, and 71 percent feel unsafe testing beauty products in store. Fifty-six percent of respondents stated they feel unsafe working with a sales associate, a 30 percent increase from last month. However, this is not necessarily bad news for retail, as online shopping continues to rise, even at lower, single-digit growth rates than during the height of the pandemic.

Petro added, “I believe the trends we’re seeing may very well lead to families hunkering down again and curtailing experiential spending, especially for domestic and international travel, and shifting this spend toward physical products, including back to school items. Interestingly, women, the primary back-to-school shoppers, are significantly less likely to be vaccinated than men, with fully one-third of women stating that they don’t intend to be vaccinated vs. only 18 percent of men. Further, Millennials, the generation most likely to have school-age children, are also the least likely generation to be vaccinated.”

Restaurants and travel will also be affected by the increase in concern over the spread of the Delta variant. Two-thirds of those surveyed have said that they won’t go to restaurants or are cutting back significantly on dining out. Forty-four percent have canceled trips due to recent COVID-19 changes, and 65 percent have said that they won’t travel internationally. Furthermore, more than half (53 percent) have said that their return-to-work plans have changed.

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