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Bad News or Good News?

It's all about perspective

Anxiety reaches another new peak

Consumer anxiousness reached another record high during the weekend of July 20 as positive cases and hospitalizations increased, confounded by non-stop media coverage. Yes, bad news as consumers struggle with Covid-19 and businesses hold on for the next curve. Yet taking a step back, maybe there is some good news… stick with me.

We are seeing more convergence which makes the #CovidPathForward more clear

Covid Re-entry is a mindset, not an age cohort. Very Anxious segment is present in all age cohorts as we have said since the beginning. For better or for worse, over the last 4 weeks, the “Wait and See” segment has diminished retrenching towards the “Anxious” and “Very Anxious” segments. All ages have seen increases in the “Very Anxious” segment over the last 4 weeks.

% Very Anxious by Age Cohort

  • Millennials: 24%,. + 12 point increase

  • Gen X: 28%, + 8 point increase

  • Boomers: 35%, +8 point increase

Why is this good?

It's good news not because the anxiousness is increasing, but because we are learning how to fumble through the awkwardness and the ups and down of Covid-19.

The Path Forward: Continue to lead with joy and reassure with safety protocols.

All of us, some at a faster pace than others, are learning new ways to experience the joy of shopping, dining out, going to church and the other things that make us human.

While consumers are anxious, it doesn’t mean that they want to be cooped up forever.

A majority 57% believe the economy can’t survive another shutdown. Consumers need businesses to do their part to help in the recovery. As business leaders, this clarity is critical.

"Leading with JOY" is hard when you don't have what Customers want

Once customers make the decision to venture out, they typically will have something in mind that drove that trip or destination a restaurant or retail location. Unfortunately, about a third of recent customers left disappointed that the item they came for wasn't available. With the need for limited menus and limited inventory, leaders should ensure that the staff is well-trained on customer recovery to ensure they feel taken care of and will want to return.

% past 7 days diners/shoppers frustrated with item that they wanted was not offered

  • 35% Restaurant dine in customers

  • 36% Retail shoppers

"Reassuring with Safety" is lacking

If those venturing out today are frustrated with the safety protocols, imagine what it will be when the more anxious venture out. Businesses need to address this now or the more anxious will take even longer to come back out. In the near term, even leading edge customer visit frequency will be negatively impacted. Two issues that have been discussed ad nauseam – masks and social distancing.

Time to mask up, not just the employees

Customer frustration with other customers not wearing masks is double that of employees not wearing mask.

% past 7 days diners/shoppers frustrated with other customers not wearing mask

  • 47% Restaurant dine in customers

  • 56% Retail shoppers

% past 7 days consumer frustrated with employees not wearing mask

  • o 15% Restaurant dine in customers

  • o 19% Retail shoppers

Visible signs of social distancing: Restaurants executing better than retail

% past 7 days diners/shoppers frustrated with other customers not social distancing

  • 24% Restaurant dine-in customers

  • 62% Retail shoppers

No more talking about it, businesses need to consistently execute and reinforce or risk re-entry trial and no repeat. Having a protocol in place is only the beginning, making sure protocols are executed consistently is what matters to your customers.

Our results are based on a weekly survey fielded among a nationally representative sample of 1,000 Americans aged 18+ by ProdegeMR, a leading market research panel. The sample is balanced according to US Census on Age, Gender, Region and Ethnicity. Thanks to my research partners at ProdegeMR for providing the continued support to get this research done! Couldn't have done it without you! 

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