Survey: The in-store COVID-19 services/safety measures consumers expect are…

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology

Shoppers want retailers to offer clean stores and delivery perks in response to COVID-19.

Seventy percent of respondents said that brick-and-mortar stores should be following basic hygiene protocols, according to the latest Consumer Pulse survey from market research firm GfK (collected May 18-19, 2020). Forty-nine percent of respondents expect in-store options for disinfecting baskets and/or their hands (compared 55% in the previous survey); while 43% believe that store employees should wear masks in stores (compared to 49% two weeks earlier) and that customers should wear masks in stores.

Despite widespread reports of surges in e-commerce, more than half (54%) of respondents said they are still shopping in-store only – unchanged from the previous survey. Another 32% are combining brick-and-mortar and online buying, and 15% are shopping online only.

In other findings, 53% say that retailers need to enforce social distancing, down from 59% in the previous Consumer Pulse survey conducted two weeks earlier. More than four in 10 respondents said retailers need to strictly enforce policies for employees (43%) and customers (42%).

In addition, 44% said traditional retailers should offer special hours for the elderly and other at-risk groups (compared to 52% two weeks earlier), and 41% feel there should be restrictions on buying certain high-demand items (compared to 47% previously).

Consumers also have strong expectations for online retailers doing business during the COVID-19 crisis. Almost six in 10 (59%) are looking for some sort of special delivery option – with 42% believing that sellers should provide free home delivery (down from 46% two weeks earlier), and 30% seeking click-and-collect service (compared to 33% in the previous survey).

The study also demonstrates the vast majority of consumers say they are expecting COVID-19 habits to persist after the virus has passed:

•    86% of respondents believe they will continue to wash their hands as diligently as they are now;
•    73% say they will continue to follow social distancing guidelines; and,
•    73% will wear face masks when ill.

GfK interviewed a representative sample of 1,020 U.S. consumers (ages 16 to 65) during May 18-19, 2020.

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