PYMNTS Study Tracks COVID-19 Changing Life In America

As PYMNTS reports daily on developments with the new coronavirus that has disrupted life around the world with alarming speed, the latest in our ongoing series, “Navigating The COVID-19 Pandemic: How Consumers Are Reorganizing Their Lives in the Wake of the Outbreak,” sheds more light on the sentiments and behaviors of Americans as they wait out the contagion, and adjust to life after.

The first study in the series went into the field on March 6-7 and revealed that the public had moved with greater speed than government health officials by engaging in protective behavior that was more stringent than official guidance in the early weeks. Our research shows that people self-canceled travel and stayed away from large events — even workplaces — literally in the tens of millions well before the announcement of a national health emergency by the president on March 13.

Standout findings from “Navigating The COVID-19 Pandemic: How Consumers Are Reorganizing Their Lives in the Wake of the Outbreak” include the following:

  • Eighty-five percent of the population was at least “slightly” concerned about the COVID-19 pandemic, with bridge millennials expressing the most concern.
  • Two-thirds of consumers believed the media’s depiction of the COVID-19 pandemic made it look worse than it was.
  • Consumers were more concerned about staying in small hotels and other peoples’ homes than they were about lodging at larger, brand-name establishments.
  • Most consumers said a vaccine — not discounts — would get them traveling again.
  • Many consumers were more frequently shopping online instead of in stores in the wake of the outbreak, regardless of their levels of concern. Bridge millennials and high-income consumers turned to mobile commerce.
  • Consumers were also dining in more and eating out less, regardless of their level of concern. Takeout, mobile order-ahead and in-restaurant dining were down across all demographics but particularly among bridge millennials and low-income consumers.
  • Ridesharing was down for all demographics but less so for bridge millennials and mid- and high-income consumers.