THE ANSWER MAY SURPRISE
We're moving from government mandated wearing of masks to having a choice - both from businesses requiring or recommending masks to consumers having a personal choice.
Our data provides insights from the consumer perspective as states are beginning to open, some for the first time and others are “re-opening” again loosening restrictions and mandates. The key question we've been hearing from businesses, will consumers want to wear their masks? Will consumers want businesses to require employees and customers to wear masks?
Masks have become a way of life, like our security blanket. Without them, most feel a bit vulnerable. When given the choice to wear a mask or not, the majority of Americans will still mask-up.
MASKS ARE HERE TO STAY FOR MOST, A LEAST FOR AWHILE
We've been wearing masks for a year now, and 59% of American’s say that they are still mandated to wear a mask. But what will they do, when it's no longer a requirement? The high numbers tell us that consumers are not quite ready to "unmask" - at least not immediately. Just like it was a process to mask-up, it will take time to unmask too.
% of Consumers that say that they will "definitely" keep wearing a mask AFTER restrictions are lifted (among those doing this activity)
o 71% Fly on a plane
o 62% Go shopping at a retailer, not online
o 62% Go to the movies
o 57% Getting your hair done
o 57% Attend a live concert or music festival
o 55% Going to church
o 47% Dining at a restaurant
WHERE YOU LIVE AND AGE ARE NOT DIFFERENTIATORS BUT GETTING A VACCINE IS
Surprisingly, the numbers are relatively stable across the country, with the Midwest have fewer consumers saying that they will continue to wear masks.
Also surprising is that age is not really a key differentiator either. There are some skews with Boomers tending to be mask wearers and millennials less likely, yet all ages can be found across this spectrum.
Yet, getting a vaccine is a differentiator. Those that have received the vaccine already are two and a half times more likely to still wear a mask than those that are not planning on getting vaccinated.
Re-entry is complex and an emotional journey for consumers. Businesses need thoughtful plans that focus on the joyful reasons to invite them back while reassuring with safety.
WHAT WILL MAKE CONSUMERS FEEL SAFE AGAIN?
While there has been a lot of media about the impact of the vaccine on consumer confidence, our data shows that continuing to wear masks has equal importance and positive impact for many Americans.
% of Consumers that it's extremely/very important to make them feel safe to return to normal activities.
o 72% No new Covid-19 cases reported
o 71% Clear plan by authorities to help prevent/mitigate another outbreak
o 66% Once the US reaches herd immunity
o 69% Friends and family getting vaccinated
o 68% Getting the vaccine myself
o 66% Once a vaccine is more thoroughly tested
o 67% Businesses continue requiring employees to wear masks
o 65% Businesses continue requiring you wear a mask when entering
o 48% No concern by authorities about ventilator availability
o 47% Friends and family start going out again
WHY IT MATTERS: 100% ON EITHER SIDE ISN'T LIKELY
The numbers go up further if we include those that "probably" will wear a mask, yet it's not 100%. For business operators, this will present challenges with reopening as we see the very vocal outliers from both sides on the news and in our businesses.
Re-entry is a precarious balance that we've seen take wild swings over the past year. Businesses should take a step back and understand the needs of their local customers regarding mask protocols and procedures. Insights will vary by region and business vertical, yet our data is clear that masks will be around for a while longer for many Americans.
Survey data collected March 12 – March15, 2021 by Lisa W. Miller & Associates and Prodege, LLC from a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults 18 years and older. Trend comparisons from the Journey Back to Joy Covid Tracking Study with 29 waves of data collection and 29,000 consumer surveys collected nationwide since March 2020.
Click here to learn more about this thought provoking initiative "Gearing Up For The Consumer Re-entry & The The Journey Back to Joy"