COVID fatigue is real. The compounded stress and exhaustion from worrying about the virus is a key consumer behavior factor First Insight has been tracking since February 2020. Surprisingly, our study found that consumers say the election outcome will have little impact on how much they buy, including for the holidays.
First Insight research on the impact of Coronavirus on purchase decisions and behaviors found that consumers are not basing future shopping decisions on the outcome of the election. In fact, the report shows a mere 1 percent difference exists depending on which candidate is elected, 55 percent of consumers saying they will spend more or the same if President Trump is reelected compared to 56 percent saying the same if Joe Biden is elected.
Meanwhile, consumers are experiencing COVID fatigue, with worry about the Coronavirus receding by over 20 percent since April, from 87 percent to 69 percent. Recent McKinsey research also notes that even though 80 percent of consumers report still feeling somewhat unsafe, activity is picking up, with one-third of consumers resuming “normal” out-of-home activities. The impact of Coronavirus on consumer purchase decisions showed a 27 percent decrease in our research, down to 65 percent, versus the highest peak reported in April (89 percent).
COVID-fatigue has set in and the pandemic is playing a lesser role in shopping decisions than it once did. There’s pent-up shopping demand. Smart brands and retailers who want first-mover advantage in their market must work to understand more through better listening and begin to actually listen to their customers and execute strategies to create winning products and capture their share of that pent-up demand.
Consumers cutting back on spending due to Coronavirus has decreased nearly 23 percent since April, from 62 percent to 48 percent, aligned with trends observed in purchasing behaviors in categories such as automotive, home sales and home improvement.
Here are additional survey findings:
Consumers Not Basing Future Shopping Decisions on Outcome of Election
The outcome of the upcoming U.S. presidential election is not driving consumer shopping decisions. Our research found that 60 percent of men would spend more or the same if Joe Biden is elected versus 63 percent of men that would spend more or the same if Donald Trump is reelected. In comparison, 53 percent of women said they would spend more or the same if Joe Biden is elected compared to 49 percent saying the same if Donald Trump is reelected.
Further proving the election outcome will have little impact on shopping behavior or purchase patterns, fifty-six percent of Generation X and 53 percent of Millennials both agreed that they would spend more or the same if either Joe Biden or Donald Trump were elected.
Elections Driving More Men than Women to Shop Earlier for Holiday 2020
Significantly more men (42 percent) than women (29 percent) responded that the results will impact the timing of their holiday shopping. Thirty-five percent of men plan to start holiday shopping early due to the uncertainty of the upcoming election, compared to 21 percent of women.
Economic Uncertainty Impacting Holiday Shopping
By contrast, economic uncertainty is impacting holiday spending plans, especially among women. Twenty-six percent of men report that the uncertain economic outlook will cause them to spend less this holiday season, vs. 23 percent saying it will result in their spending more. The difference is more pronounced among women, with 31 percent of women saying they will spend less based on the economic uncertainty vs. only 9 percent planning to spend more. Further, significantly more men are planning to buy more compared to women this holiday season across different categories including apparel (36 percent vs. 1 percent), footwear (27 percent vs. 10 percent), accessories (25 percent vs. 10 percent), beauty (24 percent vs. 14 percent), home décor (31 percent vs. 14 percent) and improvement (32 percent vs. 17 percent), electronics (36 percent vs. 15 percent) and luxury (26 percent vs. 11 percent). Retailers and brands will ignore the male shopper at their own peril.
With so much uncertainty swirling around both COVID and the impending U.S. presidential election, one thing is clear – consumers are experiencing COVID fatigue and they are ready to spend. The problem is, many brands and retailers aren’t really listening to their customers, and they’re continuing to offer products and services that are out of step with what customers need and want now. COVID-19 has dramatically shifted consumer purchase behavior and it’s more important than ever for retailers and brands to listen better and understand. It’s not just about the products or services being sold, but incorporating next-generation experience management that puts the consumer in the driver’s seat for creating the products and services they want while supporting a positive experience at every touchpoint.