- Worry about the impact of the pandemic is rising among consumers in the United States, with concern about the coronavirus nearly back to the level recorded in March, according to a survey of consumer attitudes conducted by Dunnhumby. The data science company's Worry Index is now at 29%, an increase of 6% from the firm's June survey and just below the 30% point it reached at the start of the pandemic.
- The survey also found the cost of food is a concern for people, with a majority believing the economy is struggling. Forty-eight percent of consumers are spending more money on food, and 42% have noticed an increase in food prices since the start of the pandemic.
- About 45% of grocery shoppers worldwide report satisfaction with online grocery shopping, a significant jump from 27% since the firm’s last survey in June.
When it comes to the way retailers are handling their COVID-19 response, U.S. customers report satisfaction with several national banners despite their rising worry about the effect the virus is having on life in the United States. Walmart leads the way, with 41% saying the banner is doing a good job dealing with the pandemic. CVS, Walgreens, Target and Kroger followed Walmart in ranking best among consumers, Dunnhumby said, while Publix and H-E-B were top among regional retailers. Customers also reported satisfaction with Aldi in the discount grocery space.
Dunnhumby has been tracking consumer sentiment around COVID-19 for several months now, and the latest findings can help retailers adjust their strategies and operations as the pandemic continues on.
The shifts in consumer sentiment come as COVID-19 surged over the summer in the U.S. and companies have widely enforced safety and health protocols like mask-wearing, capacity limits and social distancing. It also aligns with the way customers have adapted to post-panic grocery shopping routines using a combination of physical store trips and online grocery hauls.
Consumer attitudes around the physical grocery store remain important to their shopping routines. In the U.S., about 32% of customers are satisfied with the in-store experience, which is a continued upward trajectory since Dunnhumby’s June survey. Some of the factors contributing to shopper satisfaction include improvements in out-of-stock items and reduced operating hours.
Although just one-third of people are satisfied with the in-store experience, however, physical grocery store trips remain central to people’s shopping routines, currently accounting for 65% of all food trips. But shoppers are still apprehensive about physical shopping, with 27% worrying they could become infected while at the grocery store.
While just 25% of Americans surveyed have confidence in the government’s handling of the pandemic, they also reported they are less likely to practice preventative measures including hand washing than they were before. They are also less supportive of event cancellations and restaurant closures than they were in previous phases of the survey.