COVID-19 & Its Impact on Everyday Life: September 25-28, 2020

 In Business

The level of concern with COVID-19 and the perception of the pandemic’s trajectory held very steady across all of September.  These perceptions did not change for the third consecutive wave.

83% of Americans are currently “concerned” about COVID-19, compared to 82% from two weeks ago. The country remains divided on the pandemic trajectory (34% believe it’s improving vs. 37% who think it is getting worse).

This wave of the Russell COVID-19 Monitor was completed three days prior to President Trump’s diagnosis and the abundance of media coverage which subsequently followed. The question is what degree of impact will this diagnosis have on America’s perceptions of the pandemic (if any)? Will it impact consumer behavior?

Despite there being no change in the level of concern, there was positive movement this week in terms of returning to in-person shopping across most store and restaurant formats.

Russell Research has interviewed over 21,000 Americans over the past 6 months about their coronavirus concerns and its impact on everyday behavior. Our COVID-19 Monitor will continue to evolve in the coming weeks as the situation changes. The study currently fields every other week with the next wave slated for October 9 – 12, 2020.

Below are our key findings from September 25-28, 2020. Russell Research has tabulated data available for all 21,000+ interviews with several additional questions asked in the survey.  Please email info@russellresearch.com for more information.

Views of the Current Situation

Most Americans remain concerned about COVID-19. Between September 25-28, 83% of Americans indicated they are concerned about coronavirus, compared to 82% from two weeks earlier.

Perceptions of the pandemic trajectory remain the same – there is no clear consensus. 37% of Americans currently believe the situation is getting worse, compared to 36% two weeks ago.

There is a near equal percentage of Americans who believe the trajectory is staying the same (29% vs. 31% two weeks ago) and getting better (34% vs. 33% two weeks ago).

Impact on Behavior

Consideration of shopping at convenience stores has significantly increased over the past two weeks.  There have also been notable increases in consideration of dollar stores and pharmacies.

Essential Item Destinations

  • 83% of grocery shoppers intend to shop at a grocery store in the next month (-1 percentage point vs. two weeks ago)
  • 68% of category shoppers intend to shop at a mass merchandiser in the next month (+1)
  • 63% of category shoppers intend to shop at a pharmacy or drug store in the next month (+4)
  • 59% of category shoppers intend to shop at a convenience store in the next month (+10)
  • 58% of category shoppers intend to shop at a dollar store in the next month (+6)
  • 48% of category shoppers intend to shop at a warehouse store in the next month (+2)

There has been positive movement in consideration of in-person dining at nearly all formats.

Food & Drink

  • 49% of category users intend to dine at a fast food restaurant in the next month (+1 vs. two weeks ago)
  • 41% of category users intend to dine at a fast casual restaurant in the next month (+3)
  • 36% of category users intend to dine at a casual dining restaurant in the next month (+3)
  • 31% of category users intend to go to a coffee shop or café in the next month (-1)
  • 24% of category users intend to dine at a fine dining restaurant in the next month (+1)

Intent to shop in-store at specialty retailers has also trended positively over the past two weeks

Clothing & Specialty Retail

  • 49% of category shoppers intend to shop at a home improvement store in the next month (+3 vs. two weeks ago)
  • 42% of category shoppers intend to shop at a department store in the next month (+5)
  • 39% of category shoppers intend to shop at a clothing store in the next month (+5)
  • 36% of category shoppers intend to shop at a pet store in the next month (+5)
  • 32% of category shoppers intend to shop at an auto parts store in the next month (+5)
  • 31% of category shoppers intend to shop at an electronics store in the next month (+1)
  • 28% of category shoppers intend to shop at a home goods store in the next month (+1)
  • 27% of category shoppers intend to shop at a shoe store in the next month (+3)
  • 24% of category shoppers intend to shop at a sporting goods or outdoors store in the next month (-2)
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