The Pulse: Special Edition — One Year of COVID-19 Restrictions

The Pulse of the American Consumer is focused on continued insight into consumer sentiments for businesses across all industries.

 

It’s been just over 12 months since COVID-19 made its way into American society and changed the way we live. We asked Americans how this past year has affected many areas of their life. In order for businesses to have the most success connecting with their consumers, they have to understand them – what they are interested in, what they need, and how they feel.

At ENGINE, we have the real-time pulse of the consumer, today, and always. Throughout 2021, we will be offering weekly insights through identifying important data points and trends from the voice of the consumer.

 

KEY FINDINGS AS OF March 14, 2021:

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If you would like more information on ENGINE CARAVAN surveys, contact us below:

At ENGINE, we will be keeping up with the pulse of the consumer throughout 2021, and are regularly running our CARAVAN surveys on current social issues. Contact us at caravaninfo@enginegroup.com for more information or for the full CARAVAN survey findings.

This Online CARAVAN® omnibus surveys were conducted on January 8-10, January 15-17, January 22-24, January 29-31, February 5-7, February 12-14,  February 19-21, February 26-28, March 5-7, and March 12-14, 2021.  Approximately 1,000 adults selected from opt-in panels were surveyed. The results are also weighted to U.S. Census data to be demographically representative.

Written by the CARAVAN team at ENGINE Insights.

The Pulse of the American Consumer

Special Edition

Which of the following best describes you regarding the vaccine for COVID-19?

  • 43% of American adults have already received or are currently registered on a waiting list to receive the COVID-19 vaccine (Sub-subnet)
  • 20% have not received it yet but will as soon as its available to them
  • 16% will likely get the vaccine eventually but prefer to wait until more evidence of safety and effectiveness is available
  • 21% do not plan to receive it at all

Now that more and more Americans are getting vaccinated for COVID-19, how long do you think we will need to continue avoiding crowds and restricting access to places such as schools and businesses?

  • 17% Less than a month (Net)
  • 32% A month up to 3 months (Net)
  • 52% Up to 6 months or longer (Net)

Recently, it was announced that production of the Johnson & Johnson single-dose coronavirus vaccine will be increased through a partnership with Merck. It has since been suggested that all American adults willing to receive the vaccine should have access by the end of May, rather than July. Knowing this, to what extent does this change your level of confidence that life will ‘return closer to normal’ sooner than you previously expected?

  • 68% More confident (Net)
  • 32% It makes me much more confident
  • 36% It makes me somewhat more confident
  • 32% It does not change my current outlook

“Eventually, I will stop wearing a mask in public places, but right now, although I am not crazy about having to wear one, I truly feel it is in the best interest of everyone to wear one. I will stop wearing one when the infection rate is down and when nearly everyone is vaccinated against COVID.” -Female, 69

As the COVID pandemic continues to stabilize, which of these types of places/services do you anticipate going to or using in the next month or two?

  • Dining establishments (Subnet): 59%
    • Indoor restaurants: 45%
    • Outdoor restaurants: 38%
  • Stores (for in-store shopping): 53%
  • A large event (Subnet): 29%
    • OUTSIDE event, such as a sporting event, concert or festival: 23%
    • INSIDE an arena or public building, such as a concert, sporting event or convention center: 18%
  • Movie theaters: 29%
  • Staying at a hotel: 25%
  • Gyms/fitness centers: 22%
  • Flying on an airplane: 21%
  • Bars/Clubs: 18%
  • Leisure establishments such as bowling alleys and arcades: 17%
  • Public transportation such 14% as trains or buses: 14%

“I plan to wait and travel in 2022. I do not want to pioneer the movement back to travel but rather wait until no COVID cases from traveling.” -Male, 65

An increasing number of states are allowing for increased capacity at places that have been closed or limited to the public. At what capacity level would you feel comfortable attending each of these types of venues today?*MEAN

  • An OUTDOOR arena, such as a baseball, football, or soccer stadium: 46.6%
  • An indoor restaurant/ bar/clubL: 41.4%
  • An indoor recreational space, such as an arcade or bowling alley: 37.7%
  • A movie theater: 36%
  • An INDOOR arena, such as those used for basketball, hockey, or concerts: 35.7%
  • A smaller indoor theater, such as those used for plays or comedy shows: 33.6%

“It will probably be about a year, before I feel comfortable at large events. I may be willing to attend a large outdoor event, before I attend a large indoor event.” -Male, 51

 

A Look Back Over the Last 12 Months

At this moment in time, how concerned are you about the Coronavirus?

  • 79% Concerned (Net)
    • 78% Last March
    • 93% March 27-29 (High point)
  • 37% Very Concerned
    • 37% Last March
    • 63% March 27-29 (High point)

On a whole, when you think back over the last 12 months (March 2020 to now), do you think the nationwide concern over the Coronavirus was:

  • 84% Justified (Net)
    • 52% Very justified
    • 31% Somewhat justified
  • 16% Not justified (Net)
    • 11% Not really justified
    • 5% Not justified at all

When you think back on the last 12 months (March 2020 to now), do you think the nationwide response here in the U.S. to the Coronavirus was:

  • 19% Too much
  • 34% Just enough
  • 47% Not enough

Thinking back over the last 12 months (March 2020 to now), which of the following did you do because of the lifestyle changes brought by the pandemic?

  • 73% Wore a mask/face covering while out in public
  • 69% Cut back shopping in stores for non-essentials/Increased online shopping (Subnet)
    • 53% Increased online shopping
    • 49% Cut back on shopping in stores for NON-ESSENTIALS
  • 69% Cut back eating in restaurants/ Increased usage of food delivery services (Subnet)
    • 62% Cut back eating in restaurants
    • 26% Increased your usage of food delivery services (i.e. DoorDash, Grubhub, Uber Eats, etc.)
  • 58% Stopped shaking hands
  • 55% Cut back on socializing
  • 55% Relied upon television/social media for information about COVID-19 (Subnet)
    • 47% Relied upon television news reports for information about COVID-19
    • 26% Relied upon social media sites for information about COVID-19
  • 43% Stocked up on essentials (medications, water, toilet paper, etc.)
  • 38% Changed plans for a vacation
  • 27% Signed up for a television streaming service (i.e. Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, etc.)
  • 24% Worked from home
  • 18% Took up a new hobby
  • 13% Stopped communicating with any friends or family members because of differences in opinion about COVID-19

Continuing to think about the last 12 months, do you personally know anyone who has…

  • Been diagnosed with Coronavirus: 61%
    • March 13-15, 2020: 5%
    • May 8-10, 2020: 24%
  • Been exposed to Coronavirus: 59%
    • March 13-15, 2020: 8%
    • May 8-10, 2020: 27%
  • Been quarantined (self or mandatory) because of Coronavirus: 67%
    • March 13-15, 2020: 11%
    • May 8-10, 2020: 45%

Again, when you think back over the last 12 months (March 2020 to now), how much have you missed each of the following because of the lifestyle disruptions caused by the Coronavirus pandemic?

  • Being able to see family members whenever you want
    • March 2020 to Now
      • Missed: 84%
      • Missed a lot: 56%
    • May 8-10, 2020
      • Missed: 84%
      • Missed a lot: 5%
  • Basic human interaction outside the home, with friends or the general public
    • March 2020 to Now
      • Missed: 86%
      • Missed a lot: 54%
    • May 8-10, 2020
      • Missed: 85%
      • Missed a lot: 49%
  • Celebrating special occasions with family and friends (birthdays, holidays, weddings, anniversaries, etc.)
    • March 2020 to Now
      • Missed: 85%
      • Missed a lot: 57%
    • May 8-10, 2020
      • Missed: 82%
      • Missed a lot: 52%
  • Going to the movies
    • March 2020 to Now
      • Missed: 64%
      • Missed a lot: 35%
    • May 8-10, 2020
      • Missed: 57%
      • Missed a lot: 26%
  • Going to live events such as the theater and concerts
    • March 2020 to Now
      • Missed: 66%
      • Missed a lot: 37%
    • May 8-10, 2020
      • Missed: 55%
      • Missed a lot: 27%
  • The ability to physically go shopping for non-essential items
    • March 2020 to Now
      • Missed: 77%
      • Missed a lot: 38%
    • May 8-10, 2020
      • Missed: 81%
      • Missed a lot: 43%
  • Going to the gym/ exercise facility
    • March 2020 to Now
      • Missed: 50%
      • Missed a lot: 25%
    • May 8-10, 2020
      • Missed: 43%
      • Missed a lot: 24%
  • Going to restaurants, bars, your favorite coffee shop, etc.
    • March 2020 to Now
      • Missed: 84%
      • Missed a lot: 48%
    • May 8-10, 2020
      • Missed: 84%
      • Missed a lot: 50%
  • Sports (whether watching on TV or attending sporting events)
    • March 2020 to Now
      • Missed: 57%
      • Missed a lot: 26%
    • May 8-10, 2020
      • Missed: 55%
      • Missed a lot: 34%
  • Gambling on sports (March Madness brackets, daily wagers, fantasy sports leagues, etc.)
    • March 2020 to Now
      • Missed: 33%
      • Missed a lot: 16%
    • May 8-10, 2020
      • Missed: 27%
      • Missed a lot: 13%
  • Your daily commuting habits (to and from work, driving kids to school/activities, etc.)
    • March 2020 to Now
      • Missed: 53%
      • Missed a lot: 26%
    • May 8-10, 2020
      • Missed: 52%
      • Missed a lot: 26%
  • Being able to physically go to your place of employment [BASE = EMPLOYED]
    • March 2020 to Now
      • Missed: 54%
      • Missed a lot: 26%
    • May 8-10, 2020
      • Missed: 56%
      • Missed a lot: 31%
  • Socialization activities for your children (playing with friends, school activities such as plays, sports, band/chorus, etc.) [BASE = PARENTS WITH CHILDREN UNDER 18]
    • March 2020 to Now
      • Missed: 87%
      • Missed a lot: 55%
    • May 8-10, 2020
      • Missed: 84%
      • Missed a lot: 55%
  • Your child’s school/day-care, childcare facility being open [BASE = PARENTS WITH CHILDREN UNDER 18]
    • March 2020 to Now
      • Missed: 79%
      • Missed a lot: 43%
    • May 8-10, 2020
      • Missed: 72%
      • Missed a lot: 47%

How important has each of the following been over the last 12 months to help you get through the COVID-19 pandemic?

  • Coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic by local and national news
    • Very/Somewhat: 77%
    • Very: 44%
  • Online banking
    • Very/Somewhat: 76%
    • Very: 46%
  • Online shopping options
    • Very/Somewhat: 75%
    • Very: 44%
  • Streaming services (i.e. Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, etc.)
    • Very/Somewhat: 68%
    • Very: 38%
  • My pets
    • Very/Somewhat: 67%
    • Very: 47%
  • ‘Curbside pickup’ at stores/restaurants
    • Very/Somewhat: 61%
    • Very: 29%
  • Virtual conferencing/meeting options for either work or social settings
    • Very/Somewhat: 57%
    • Very: 28%
  • At home workouts
    • Very/Somewhat: 55%
    • Very: 28%
  • Food delivery services (i.e. DoorDash, Grubhub, Uber Eats, etc.)
    • Very/Somewhat: 55%
    • Very: 28%
  • Video games (new generation and/or classic games)
    • Very/Somewhat: 46%
    • Very: 22%
  • Professional sports leagues resuming after a brief hiatus
    • Very/Somewhat: 44%
    • Very: 18%

“We really love [curbside pickup] because it saves us time, I can compile order online during the week and do much more thorough price comparisons than I previously did in a physical store.” – Female, 70

Which of the following apply to you since the COVID pandemic started last March? [1]

  • 37% You tried curbside pickup at stores or restaurants FOR THE FIRST TIME
  • 29% You tried a food delivery service FOR THE FIRST TIME (i.e. DoorDash, Grubhub, Uber Eats, etc.)
  • 29% You tried a different retailer, store, or website than you normally would for a product or service
  • 28% You tried a different BRAND/ COMPANY than you normally would for a product or service, in ANY category
  • 24% You tried a new digital shopping method (i.e. a specific retailer app or apps such as Instacart and Shipt)

For what product or service categories did you try a different brand/company since the pandemic began in March?

  • 61% Food/groceries
  • 60% Everyday household items (cleaning products, health & beauty, soap/detergent, paper products, etc.)
  • 51% Streaming services (Net)
    • 38% Streaming services for television content or movies
    • 29% Streaming services for music or podcasts
  • 41% Restaurants
  • 37% Clothing
  • 25% Consumer technology (mobile phone, tablet, laptop, gaming system, etc.)
  • 19% Financial services (banks, insurance, investments)
  • 18% Cell phone service
  • 18% Internet service

Which of the following ‘popular’ COVID driven industry changes are you likely to continue using even once the pandemic is over?

  • 56% Online shopping options
  • 52% Online banking
  • 31% At home workouts
  • 24% Video get-togethers with family/friends
  • 37% More at home entertainment options/services (Streaming services, newspaper subscriptions, video games, etc.)
  • 34% Food delivery services (i.e. DoorDash, Grubhub, Uber Eats, etc.)
  • 28% ‘Curbside pickup’ at stores/restaurants

[1] Base = Tried a different brand/company than you normally would for a product or service, in any category since the COVID pandemic started last March

Dig deeper with the ENGINE Insights COVID Dashboard

The ENGINE COVID-19 dashboard delivers an easy-to-use, self-serve platform providing access to all of our COVID-19 tracking data including industry specific deep-dives and online behavioral data. This tool puts ENGINE’s data in your hands to uncover meaningful insights to your specific business questions.