Survey Shows Americans Changed Behavior Fast in Face of Covid-19 Threat

March 16, 2020 (Viz Release) Boston — The wisdom of ordinary Americans outpaced that of U.S. government health officials, with a new survey by PYMNTS.com revealing that people nationwide cancelled air travel, abandoned gatherings, and snapped up cleaning supplies well before a national health emergency was declared on March 13.

These are among notable findings from PYMNTS research conducted in the first week of March, when anxiety began to spike worldwide. With a ‘calm before the storm’ sense gripping the world now, respondents to the PYMNTS study won’t travel again until the CDC declares the virus under control (65 percent), or until a vaccine is made available (63 percent). Over 85 percent of consumers are ‘slightly’ to ‘very’ worried about contracting the bug, contributing to a 34 percent drop in restaurant dining­—almost identical (33 percent) among fast-casual and QSR respondents.

PYMNTS put the first in a series of surveys to gauge the full impact of COVID-19 on American life into the field on Friday March 6. The census-balanced panel of nearly 2,200 U.S. consumers reacted to questions around five foundational activities of the connected economy: how people shop, work, spend their leisure time, travel and eat. What it reveals are intriguing gaps between consumer sentiment and behavior.

Key results for the benchmark March 6 survey include the following:

·      Men and women are equally concerned about their risks of contracting the virus, but women were more likely to change their day-to-day routines.

·      Higher-earning 30- to 40-year-old ‘bridge millennials’ were the most concerned of all demographic groups – in fact, nearly 30 percent more so than their boomer parents and senior grandparents.

·      Higher-income individuals shopped more online, while those earning less than $50,000 a year reduced shopping of all kinds sharply.

·      All consumers reported eating out less, particularly at restaurants with table service, and said they used delivery aggregators, bought prepared foods at grocery stores and used mobile order-ahead less than they did before.

·      Before March Madness was canceled and sports teams began shutting down live events, consumers had put social distance between themselves and others.

·      Consumers decided not to get on planes, especially to hotspots like New York or any international destination for work or pleasure.

·      Booking vacation rentals and B&Bs also fell, as did ride sharing and use of public transportation.

VIEW THE FULL SURVEY, CHARTS, TABLES & COVERAGE HERE

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About PYMNTS.com: Boston-based PYMNTS is reinventing the way in which companies in payments share relevant information about the initiatives that shape the future of commerce and makes news. This powerful B2B platform is the #1 site for the payments industry by traffic and the premier source of information about “what’s next” in payments. C-suite and VP level executives turn to it daily for these insights, making the PYMNTS.com audience the most valuable in the industry. It provides an interactive platform for companies to demonstrate thought leadership, popularize products and, most importantly, capture the mindshare of global decision-makers. It’s where the best minds and best content meet on the web. Contact information@PYMNTS.com

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