Survey: Consumer confidence waning again as concerns mount

As the back-to-school shopping season kicks into high gear, safety concerns around in-store shopping have increased during the past month. 

That’s according to a consumer study fielded on Aug. 5 by First Insight in which 53% of respondents report that they feel unsafe trying on products in dressing rooms, 49% feel unsafe trying on shoes, and 71% feel unsafe testing beauty products in store.

Fifty-six percent of respondents stated they feel unsafe working with a sales associate, a 30% increase from last month.  At the same time, online shopping continues to rise, even at lower, single-digit growth rates than during the height of the pandemic.

Additionally, the survey saw a 25% increase since July 2021 in the number of consumers admitting that they are “very or somewhat worried” about the Coronavirus, from 51% to 64%, the highest one-month jump recorded since March 2020. And 56% of the consumers surveyed last week will be cutting back on their spending, an increase of 8% over last month.

“I believe the trends we’re seeing may very well lead to families hunkering down again and curtailing experiential spending, especially for domestic and international travel, and shifting this spend toward physical products, including back to school items,” said Greg Petro, CEO of First Insight.

Of the respondents unwilling to get vaccinated, 90% indicated that they won’t consider getting the vaccine to ensure access to restaurants and businesses across the country that have begun to implement proof-of-vaccine mandates.

“It appears that people’s minds are made up about whether to get vaccinated and more education may be required to change their minds,” Petro said.

Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, First Insight has been engaged in a longitudinal study, polling more than 10,000 American consumers in total balanced across gender, geography and generations to gauge their overall concern about the virus, how COVID-19 will affect their spending, and whether the vaccine’s availability would alter their shopping behavior. This most recent study was fielded on August 5, 2021.

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