Consumer Attitudes, Behavior Shift Rapidly in the Age of COVID-19
SRG examines grocery shopping, food and restaurant dining in the context of viral outbreak
Just one week ago, only 48% of consumers expressed concern about the spread of the novel coronavirus. Today that number has risen to 72% according to week two of an ongoing weekly tracking study of 200 Americans across the country conducted by the Sterling-Rice Group (SRG).
The second week of findings shows dramatic lifestyle changes Americans are undertaking in response to coronavirus. While week one showed huge shifts in personal hygiene routines, week two revealed dramatic changes to grocery shopping and buying. The number of consumers stocking up on food increased by 26 percentage points with 50% of consumers now saying they are purchasing more shelf-stable or frozen foods. Also of significance is a 21 percentage point increase in consumers who say they are paying less attention to price.
“The dramatic shifts in behavior and attitudes in just one week show how important it is to really understand changing consumer sentiments at a time of dramatic uncertainty,” said Cindy Judge, CEO of SRG. “These insights are vital to our clients on the front lines of the consumer products industries as they seek to meet consumer needs that are changing at unprecedented speed.”
The study also revealed that 75% of Americans have changed their restaurant and dining behavior in response to COVID-19. Ordering online or for delivery rose 13 percentage points from last week, a number SRG anticipates will grow even higher next week.
“We will continue to see a migration to new behaviors as we look at consumer attitudes week over week,” explained Adam Max, Managing Director/Partner at SRG. “In particular, we expect to see increased demand for culinary creativity as consumers look for new ways to cook beans, pasta, rice and other staples.”
Week one also showed that 65% of respondents had not made any changes to travel plans. That number more than reversed itself with 67% saying they have made changes to travel plans today.
Also of great significance is how American daily life is being impacted. The study showed that 77% are staying at home more often, up 51 percentage points from a week ago, and almost 90% of people saying they are experiencing disruptions or cancellations to their school, work or other major organizations.
This SRG Consumer Attitude and Behavior survey is being fielded on successive Wednesday mornings in March beginning March 11 among 200 Americans across the country. The sample is nationally representative of the US population – balanced to age, gender, ethnicity, income and region.