Survey: More Americans ready to shop in-store as confidence rises

Marianne Wilson
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As confidence arises, more consumers are looking to head back to stores and restaurants.

That’s according to a new research from SafetyCulture, which found that Americans are feeling much more comfortable undertaking many activities during the coming months compared to the same time period in 2020. Half of Americans said they would feel "very comfortable" shopping in a physical store during the next three months, compared to 29% in the year-ago period. Only 14% said they would have some degree of discomfort shopping in-store, compared to 34% last year.

On the dining front, only 23% of Americans said they would feel a level of discomfort dining in a restaurant/bar during the next three months compared to 52% last year.

Consumers want businesses to maintain COVID-19 safety measures. Thirty-six percent of survey respondents said they will have some level of discomfort visiting businesses that have relaxed safety precautions in the coming months. The majority say the following actions would increase confidence in a business:

    • Glove, mask, and hand sanitizer supplies are readily available for free and use is enforced in all areas of an establishment (84%);
    • For high traffic areas, a list of cleaning and disinfecting activities completed hourly, throughout the day with completion status is publicly available (85%); and
    • Social distancing protocols are in place, monitored and enforced, even if it means reduced capacity (82%).

“After an incredibly tough 2020, it's encouraging to see consumer confidence increase across various industries,” commented Bob Butler, general manager, North America with SafetyCulture. “As America reopens, it's important to remember that vaccines are one part of an effective safety strategy. Clear and manageable safety processes are critical to a successful reopening that lasts. Most businesses have gotten over the hurdle of implementing new procedures. Now it's time to focus on removing any remaining red tape and friction so safety maintenance becomes second nature."


Other highlights from the survey are below.

  • The majority (64%) of Americans feel that fully vaccinated people should still wear masks when inside public places.
  • Once vaccinated, Americans are most likely to remain uncomfortable (38%) going to a public event (e.g., sporting arenas, theatres, etc.), closely followed by going to the gym (35%). 
  • Even after being vaccinated, 20% of American workers indicated they would be uncomfortable returning to the workplace.

• More than one in 10 (14%) said they do not plan on getting fully vaccinated and already feel comfortable engaging in all of the aforementioned activities, with an additional 4% saying they don’t plan on getting fully vaccinated and are uncomfortable doing at least one of these activities.

SafetyCulture’s nationwide research of 1,000 U.S. consumers was developed in partnership with YouGov. The survey is a follow-up to its June 2020 research which assessed consumer comfort levels interacting with businesses across a variety of industries. The new survey is part of SafetyCulture’s ongoing Safely Back to Business Initiative. For full survey results, please click here.