Consumers Respond to CDC Guidelines and Have Changed Their Behaviors Dramatically Since March; Prosper April Survey Shows

WORTHINGTON, Ohio--()--New data from Prosper Insights and Analytics April 1-6 survey of over 8200 consumers points to several social and shopping behavioral changes that consumers have made since March when the President declared a national emergency concerning the novel coronavirus disease outbreak.

Sweeping social and consumption changes may indicate a new direction is emerging for the marketplace. The data provides some insights into how the pandemic has affected the emotions, shopping patterns and social practices of Americans. These critical data points unfiltered straight from the consumer are the green shoots of change every business and even government official needs to take note of.

The continuous urging of compliance to the Coronavirus guidelines each day at the White House daily briefings is showing traction among consumers. A large majority of consumers are responding to the guidelines.

  • 72% agree/strongly agree with the belief that it is time to make self-sacrifices for the good of the country in order to defeat the pandemic.
  • 71% of all people 18+ are practicing social distancing and for those over 65 years old is even higher at 84.7% while those 35-44 years old is 58.9%.
  • 74% report they are avoiding shaking hands but those 35-44 again lag at 64.9%
  • 77% meet the “washing hands more” often element of the Guidelines and those over 65 lead the way with 90.2% while only 64% of the 35-44 year old practice this.
  • 62% say they are using a hand sanitizer more often with those 65+ at 68% and women trail close behind at 66.4%.
  • Wearing a mask in public was recently recommended by the CDC as part of the Guidelines and 23.9% say they are already doing so and interestingly 30.1% of those in the 18-24 year old age group are doing so.

The emotional impact is being felt through several areas of people’s lives:

  • 79% in April are extremely concerned/very concerned about the coronavirus which jumped from March when 44.9% said same.
  • 33% are anxious about contracting the coronavirus and the 18-24 year old are most anxious 36.2% followed by 65+ 33.7%.
  • 15% know someone who has or had the coronavirus with 18-24 being the age group with highest percentage 17.6% and 65+ lowest 9.5%.
  • 2% report they have tested positive led by the 35-44 year old cohort 5.3% testing positive.
  • 22% say they are experiencing anxiety from being confined to their house, 18-24 year old are most anxious 32.7% and 65+ least anxious 16.4%. The Northeast is the most anxious from being confined to their homes 24.9% and those in South least anxious 19.4%.
  • 24% are praying more and focusing on spiritual guidance.
  • 19% worry about running out of money with 18-24 leading in money worries 32.4% and 65+ lowest 10.3%.
  • 10% are having trouble paying bills, 14.7% of 18-24 say same while 4.2% of 65+ are.
  • 44% now say they are very or somewhat pessimistic that the government will be able to solve the coronavirus issue, in March pessimism was 35.4%.

Views on the economy have also taken a drastic turn since March:

  • 32% in April are confident/very confident in the economy, in March 53.6% were. However, the April reading is not as bad as the October 2008 confidence level which was at 19% confident/very confident.
  • 86% in April said yes to the Coronavirus impacting the economy a big jump from March’s 51.9%.
  • 18% say have been laid off during the coronavirus outbreak, and 25.7% of 18-24 have been laid off.
  • 68% of those laid off are not receiving sick leave pay.
  • 17% used to work away from home but are now working from home.
  • 60% believe US companies have been too reliant on manufacturing critical products like medicines and medical equipment overseas.
  • 56% think the economy will rebound to pre-Covid-19 levels, 13.3% say it won’t, and 30.5% are uncertain.
  • 54% believe it will take from 7 months to 2 years for the economy to recover.

April shopping behaviors have also changed from March driven by consumer concerns:

  • 72% of the concerned consumers in April are shopping less in stores in March only 23.9% said same.
  • 37% of the concerned consumers in April are shopping online more versus only 17.7% said they were in March. Also, over 40% of the 18-44 year old are shopping online more.
  • 30% plan to shop more online in the future, even 28.3% of those 65+ say so and 33.8% of 18-24.
  • 49% Agree/strongly agree that their purchasing behaviors in the future will change and the biggest groups for change are those 35-44 and women.

Social distancing a word not in the vernacular until March may have long term impact.

  • 52% believe social distancing in the workplace will become policy.
  • 55% agree/strongly agree they will change their social behaviors in the future while 40.9% think things will go back to way they were before the pandemic.

“The responses from consumers provide signals for potential changes in the marketplace and socially. Leaders in business and public policy should pay close attention to the current state and future intentions of consumers. When the pandemic ends, and it will end, anticipating and planning for a new normal that may emerge led by the consumer will determine success.” said Phil Rist VP Prosper Insights & Analytics.

Access to complimentary data is available on the AWS Data Exchange at Strategic Insights: Coronavirus Covid-19 Consumer or email for more information.

About Prosper Insights & Analytics

Prosper Insights & Analytics is a global leader in consumer intent data serving financial services, marketing technology, retail and marketing industries. We provide global authoritative market information on US and China consumers via curated insights and analytics. By integrating Prosper's unique consumer data with a variety of other data, including behavioral, attitudinal and media, Prosper helps companies accurately predict consumers' future behavior and optimize marketing efforts and improve the effectiveness of demand generation campaigns.


Phil Rist


Release Summary

Covid-19 Pandemic causing sweeping social and consumer consumption changes ...may indicate a new direction is emerging for the marketplace.


Phil Rist