Consumer concerns about COVID-19 are rising back to the level seen at the start of the pandemic in March. According to the latest dunnhumby Consumer Pulse Survey, the U.S. “Worry Index” is now at 29%, an increase of six percent since the third Wave of the study, and nearly back to its original high point of 30% in March.
The dunnhumby “Worry Index” is a measure of how concerned consumers are about COVID-19, the Customer Data Science company said in a statement.
The study also found that while 39% of those surveyed around the world rated their national governments as doing a good job with the crisis, only 25% of Americans surveyed have faith in government actions during the pandemic.
Not surprisingly, with the surges in COVID-19 seen across the country since late May, U.S. respondents reported stores were doing a poorer job keeping them feel safe than in the previous phase. At the same time, U.S. respondents also said they were less likely to practice preventative measures like frequent hand washing (65%) or agree with restaurant closures (50%) and event cancellations (53%) as they did in previous phases.
“Although worldwide our Consumer Pulse Survey is finding that on global basis worries about COVID-19 are declining, this latest update of the study shows that when it comes to the pandemic, worries are going back up in the U.S. and Mexico. This isn’t surprising since the U.S. and Mexico are both struggling to contain the virus,” said Jose Gomes, President of North America for dunnhumby.
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“In these uncertain times, retailers must fully understand how their customers are responding to each phase of the crisis, to meet changing needs. Retailers also need to be prepared to respond when regions experience spikes in new cases, which will likely return customers to previous behaviors from earlier phases in the pandemic,” added Gomes.
Key findings from the dunnhumby Consumer Pulse Survey:
- Online grocery shopping and food delivery peaked during the pandemic. It now represents nearly 35% of all U.S. trips, 19% of all Canadian trips, 39% of all Mexican trips, and 28% worldwide. Driven by the adoption of eCommerce options and restaurant closures In the U.S., physical trips to stores now account for 65% of all food trips be they in or out of the home. Net satisfaction for online shopping has also increased since the first wave with 45% reporting satisfaction in the latest wave, up from 27%.
- U.S. consumers are concerned about the economy and rising food prices. The latest wave of the Consumer Pulse survey also found that 67% of Americans surveyed think the economy is poor – a drop of 7% from wave 3. Seventy-five percent think the government is doing a poor job dealing with the virus. Forty-one percent reported that their personal finances are poor, with 48% spending more money on food, and 42% have noticed rising food prices since the start of the pandemic.
- National retailers in the U.S. are doing a good job dealing with the problems created by COVID-19. Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, Target, and Kroger were the top-ranked retailers by U.S. survey respondents. Regional retailers Publix and H-E-B and discounter Aldi also performed well.
- Satisfaction with the in-store shopping experience was trending higher by Waves three and four of this study. Worldwide, 22% reported being satisfied by the in-store experience compared to 35% in the U.S, 32% in Canada, and 31% in Mexico.
- Consumers believe the media is not exaggerating COVID-19 news, according to the majority of those surveyed across the globe: U.S. (80%), Canada (87%), Mexico (86%), and worldwide (77%).
“Unfortunately, with the surges of new cases in many regions of the world, we will not put this crisis behind us until a vaccine is widely available to the public,” said Gomes. “But, by understanding what matters most to customers by bringing together customer data and insights, retailers can help their organizations navigate and plan for the uncertainty ahead and respond to the evolving needs and worries of their customers.”
For this study, dunnhumby said it surveyed more than 27,000 online respondents in 22 countries. The online interviews were conducted for Wave one from March 29 – April 1, for Wave two from April 11 – 14, and for Wave three from May 27-31. Due to the rapidly unfolding crisis in North America, the company conducted another set of online interviews for Wave four from July 9 -July 12 in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico only. Four hundred individuals were interviewed in each country for each Wave of the study. Approximately, 60% were female and 40% were male.