Study: Majority of Americans think stores should reopen by end of May

Press enter to search
Close search
Open Menu

Study: Majority of Americans think stores should reopen by end of May

By Marianne Wilson - 04/09/2020
open sign

A new survey has some hopeful findings for retailers with shuttered stores even as it shows an increased level of consumer concern about COVID-19.

Amid signals that coronavirus infections may be plateauing in hot spots like New York, a new study by digital product testing and decision-making platform. 

First Insight found that 60% of U.S. consumers feel that stores should reopen by the end of May 2020. Fielded on April 3, the study found increasing optimism among consumers living in several hotspots outside of New York, millennials and men, who were most likely to believe stores should be open weeks earlier -- at the end of April or early May.

At the same time, however, concerns about the impact of COVID-19 continue to grow, with 87% of consumers surveyed now saying they are worried about the pandemic versus 71% in the last survey in mid-March.

Key findings from the First Insight study include:

Men Ready to Head In-Store Sooner: While 65% of men and 54% of women felt stores should reopen by the end of May, 39% of male respondents felt stores should open weeks earlier, by the end of April/Early May, compared to women (25%). 

Some Coronavirus Hot Spots Showing Optimism: While overall, 32% of respondents felt stores should open by the end of April/beginning of May, optimism was higher in several coronavirus hot spots. Forty-three percent of respondents living in Detroit, Chicago, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and San Francisco felt stores should reopen by the end of April or early May. 

By comparison, 35% of respondents in the New York City, New Jersey, and Connecticut areas felt the same, on par with rural areas (the survey was performed before Governor Cuomo’s executive order extending the New York Pause to the end of April). The greater Seattle area in Washington State showed to be the least optimistic, with only 28% of respondents agreeing. 

Millennials Hopeful About Shopping Sooner: Between 59% to 63% of respondents across every generation felt stores should be open by the end of May. However, millennials are proving to be the most hopeful that stores will be opening sooner, with 39% feeling stores should be open by the end of April/early May compared to 31% of Generation Z, 30% of Generation X and 28% of baby boomers.

Some Coronavirus Hot Spots Showing Optimism: While overall, 32 percent of respondents felt stores should open by the end of April/beginning of May, optimism was higher in several Coronavirus Hot Spots. Forty-three percent of respondents living in Detroit, Chicago, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and San Francisco felt stores should reopen by the end of April or early May. By comparison, 35 percent of respondents in the New York City, New Jersey, and Connecticut areas felt the same, on par with rural areas (the survey was performed before Governor Cuomo’s executive order extending the New York Pause to the end of April). The greater Seattle area in Washington State showed to be the least optimistic, with only 28 percent of respondents agreeing. 

“It’s clear that people are getting antsy and ready to get back to some form of normalcy, including shopping in-store,” said Greg Petro, CEO of First Insight. “However, the continuing increases in percentages of those worried about the coronavirus in the last weeks points to the true reality of the situation. We may still have a way to go. That said, it is important that retailers and brands continue planning by ensuring they have the right product and price when the time comes, even if it’s just being offered online for now. It’s a delicate balance, but those who are connected closest with their customers will be best aligned should they be given the green light to reopen their doors.”

First Insight’s findings are based on the results of three U.S. consumer studies of targeted samples of more than 500 respondents each balanced by gender, geography, and generation, fielded on February 28, March 17, and April 3, 2020.