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Delta variant sparks significant shifts in consumer sentiment, study reveals

The spread of the Delta variant has caused many consumers to become less comfortable with indoor activities.

Consumers are less comfortable with indoor activities, particularly shopping without a mask, as a result of the spread of the Delta variant.

That’s according to a new report from data and tech market research company Numerator, which found that, after two months of increasing comfort levels, consumers are back to feeling cautious and changing their behaviors as a result. Data in the report is primarily based on surveys fielded on. July 15, 2021, and August 13, 2021.   

The survey results varied widely among vaccinated and unvaccinated consumers.  Forty-six percent of consumers said they prefer to shop at retailers that require masks (56% of vaccinated vs 22% of unvaccinated).

In addition, 53% of consumers said they prefer to wear masks in public at this point in time (63% of vaccinated consumers vs 25% of unvaccinated consumers). And 43% think proof of vaccination should be required for public indoor spaces (60% of vaccinated vs 12% of unvaccinated).

The report found that concern over COVID-19 jumped in August as the Delta variant spread. Nearly half (46%) of consumers said they are highly concerned about COVID, up 10% from July 2021. More than a quarter (26%) rate their concern a 10/10 – a level not seen since March 2021 (25% of consumers).

Other findings from Numerator are below.

Consumers are less optimistic. One in five consumers (20%) said they are highly optimistic about a return to normal, down from 33% at the beginning of the summer.

  •  Vaccinated consumers are more optimistic than unvaccinated. Among those who do not plan to get the vaccine, 12% say they are not at all optimistic about a return to normal, compared to 3% of vaccinated consumers.
  •  Half of consumers believe reopening is pushed until 2022. Timing expectations for a return to normal have significantly shifted. Nearly half (48%) of consumers say they expect full reopening to be delayed until 2022 or later, up from 23% of consumers who said the same in July and 18% in June.
  •  Consumers are returning to COVID behaviors. After steady increases throughout 2021, the number of consumers who said they had resumed pre-COVID behaviors decreased for the first time, dropping from 39% in July to 27% in August.
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