As more major retailers require customers to wear a mask in-store, a recent survey by First Insight found that consumers are feeling more safe visiting essential businesses like grocery stores than they did in April (11 versus 13 saying they feel unsafe or very unsafe) with drug stores holding steady at only 15 percent feeling unsafe.
According to First Insight, more consumers are feeling safer visiting local small businesses with those who feel unsafe shopping there dropping to 17 percent from 21 percent at the end of April.
A growing majority of consumers say mask in-store policies make them feel most safe. The number of respondents who said a face mask policy makes them feel most safe shopping in-store increased since April to 84 percent from 79 percent, with temperature checks at the door also important to more consumers (71 versus 69).
The First Insight survey revealed that other practices were important to fewer consumers now versus in April, including store-provided hand sanitizer (78 percent versus 80 percent), limiting the number of people in-store (77 percent versus 80 percent), one-way directional aisles (67 percent versus 71 percent), and no-contact payments (68 percent versus 76 percent).
“We are seeing increasing coronavirus case numbers in states across the country, and retailers are definitely solidifying their COVID-19 policies to help customers feel safer, including mandating masks be worn, limiting people in-store and conducting temperature checks. As stores continue to operate during the pandemic, it is critical that retailers communicate with their customers, understand expectations when it comes to safety, and simultaneously offer the products they need. Those that do will have the greatest chance of success in this difficult environment,” said Greg Petro, CEO of First Insight.
The study also found that in considering where to shop, a growing number of consumers feel unsafe in shopping malls, warehouse clubs, and big-box retailers. According to the survey, 32 percent of respondents feel unsafe or very unsafe when visiting shopping malls compared to 29 percent in the last survey. Warehouse clubs saw a similar uptick (20 percent versus 18 percent), with small increases in big box retail (18 percent versus 17 percent).
The new findings of mask in-store policies were revealed as part of First Insight’s ongoing series of consumer studies entitled, “The Impact of Coronavirus on Consumer Purchase Decisions and Behaviors.”