CivicScience | Less Than Half of Americans Are Comfortable Shopping in Stores Ahead of Black Friday

General, Retail

Less Than Half of Americans Are Comfortable Shopping in Stores Ahead of Black Friday

Image Credit: Photo by Arturo Rey on Unsplash

COVID-19 cases in the U.S. continue to reach record highs. Within the past week alone, the U.S. has seen an alarmingly high average of over 170,000 new cases per day. In the past week, many states and localities have issued lockdown orders or tightened restrictions as the total infection number nears 12 million. Since CivicScience first began tracking coronavirus sentiment in April, more people than ever before (54%) have expressed they’re ‘very concerned’ about being in public spaces right now. Only 15% of Americans reported being ‘not at all concerned.’  

In the week leading up to all of the big post-Thanksgiving sale days, less than half of U.S. adult consumers say they’re comfortable shopping in person or in stores right now – which (obviously) has huge implications for the entire retail space.

The aversion to being in public in general – not just for shopping – may be because, for many Americans, the virus is hitting even closer to home than in the past. About three in five U.S. adults say they either know someone who has tested positive for coronavirus or have personally been diagnosed.

A Potential Vaccine 

There seems to be a bit of optimism given the promising news of (so far) successful vaccine clinical trials. As we reported last week, an increasing percentage of adults (34%) would be open to getting the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it becomes available, while fewer adults (just 13%) wouldn’t want to receive it at all. 

Along with the positive vaccine news also comes some optimism in regards to social distancing and isolation expectations – an increasing percentage of people expect to have to practice social distancing and/or self-isolation for two to six months, rather than six or more months.

Restaurant and Dining Trends 

As restrictions change all over the country, restaurants are one of the most impacted. People are becoming less comfortable ‘going out to eat right now.’ Only 38% said they’d be comfortable dining out now as opposed to in a few weeks or months. Thirty-five percent still say they’d be most comfortable waiting six months or more. 

On that same note, fewer people have plans to dine in-person at a restaurant in the next week, resulting in an increasing percentage of people who will exclusively be ordering takeout or delivery.

Consumers under 30 years old are the most likely to visit a restaurant this week, but that’s largely driven by takeout and delivery intent.

The most likely groups to say they’ll be dining in at restaurants this week lean politically right and live in the Western part of the country.

Travel Comfort, Intent for Thanksgiving 

On Thursday of last week, The CDC advised Americans to refrain from traveling for Thanksgiving out of concern for the spike of COVID-19 cases in the United States. As of today, 22% of US adults have canceled Thanksgiving travel plans, 16% don’t plan to cancel, and 4% are still unsure. 

The CDC issued guidance that advised against celebrating Thanksgiving indoors with non-household members. Thirty percent of U.S. adults say they’ve canceled plans, 21% say they don’t plan to.

Economic Sentiment Updates 

Notable changes to consumers’ economic outlook continue to appear in the data. Since late July, the percentage of U.S. Adults who are anticipating the economy worsening within the next six months has skyrocketed week-over-week since the end of October – jumping from 29% then to 43% now. 

As job status at large becomes more uncertain for many Americans, labor market outlook has worsened. For the second week in a row, an increasing percentage of people expect it to be more difficult to find a new job over the next six months, returning to the point observed in early August.

Along those same lines, employment concern still remains high. Whether or not it’s because of rising case numbers, the approaching cold months, or the U.S. election results, roughly two in five adults express some level of concern over their current situation.

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