LAST UPDATE: MARCH 3, 2021

Tracking the Return to Normal: Shopping

Morning Consult is tracking how safe consumers feel returning to retail spaces in light of the COVID-19 pandemic
By: Alyssa Meyers

 

This tracker is part of a series from Morning Consult gauging when consumers will return to normal activities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more and sign up for alerts.

Even considering the e-commerce boom during lockdowns, brick-and-mortar shopping is here to stay. But when consumers will feel safe returning to physical stores and shopping malls remains an unanswered question. Below, Morning Consult provides some insights into shoppers’ state of mind.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Almost Half of Consumers Are Comfortable at Malls, Starting an Upward Trend: After comfort levels with shopping malls remained fairly even in December, they started increasing in January, and by early February, 43 percent of consumers said they feel safe at a mall, the largest share since Morning Consult started tracking in April 2020. That figure fluctuated slightly in mid-February, but set another record at 46 percent by the end of the month. Half of millennials said they’re comfortable at malls, also a record for that group in particular.

Americans Are More Comfortable Visiting Department Stores Than Malls: Fifty-eight percent of Americans said they currently feel safe going to a department store, representing a 12-point difference between those who said they’d feel comfortable at department stores and those who said they’d feel comfortable at a mall. 

Shoppers Also More Comfortable With Local Stores, Boutiques Over Malls: A similar share (57 percent) said they currently feel comfortable shopping at a small retailer, up 5 percentage points from the previous week, representing an upward trend in comfort with small stores through February.

Consumers More Likely to Report Spending Less Amid the Pandemic, Except With Online Purchases
Respondents were asked whether they're spending more or less than they usually do since the COVID-19 pandemic started
Respondents were asked whether they're spending more or less online than they usually do since the COVID-19 pandemic started
Survey conducted Feb. 18-20, 2021, among 2,200 U.S. adults with a margin of error of +/-2%.

Share of Consumers Comfortable at Malls Rebounds After Slight Dip
The share of respondents who said they feel comfortable going to a shopping mall right now:
Weekly surveys are conducted among roughly 2,200 U.S. adults and have a margin of error of +/-2%.

Shoppers Are More Comfortable in Boutiques, Department Stores Than Malls
Respondents were asked whether they feel comfortable doing the following right now:
Survey conducted Feb. 18-20, 2021, among 2,200 U.S. adults with a margin of error of +/-2%.

Tracking the Return to Normal

When will things return to normal and what will our new normal look like? It’s a question that business, economic and government leaders are grappling with as more and more Americans receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

To help answer this complicated question, Morning Consult is tracking how consumer attitudes are shifting across a wide range of categories, from travel to entertainment to dining, to gain greater insight into not only when consumers will be ready to return to their normal activities, but how their habits will be forever changed. We’ll be updating these pages every week with new data and analyses. Sign up for alerts below.

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