Will retail survive the pandemic? Of course it will – but things will be different. No one is sure exactly what “different” means or even looks like just yet, but as PYMNTS research has tracked the pandemic and its impacts, certain trends are taking on an air of permanence.
As of April 27, PYMNTS had surveyed more than 12,000 consumers for our fifth report chronicling the pandemic. The big reveal in the latest findings is that despite protests and widespread calls to reopen the economy immediately, twice the number of Americans have no interest in reopening or restarting until they feel safe. That feeling of safety would come with a vaccine, as our analyses have shown – and that takes time.
Which leads us to what is being dubbed “the digital shift.” Perhaps the greatest change we’ve experienced as stay-at-home orders, mass job losses and just plain fear have kept people out of physical stores is the new normal of eCommerce everything.
As our latest reporting notes, “In just eight short weeks, we have observed six times more consumers working from home, four times more consumers buying groceries online instead of going into the grocery store, four times more consumers ordering takeout from aggregators or their favorite restaurants, and three times more consumers shopping online for things other than groceries.”
On April 27, some 66 percent of responding consumers told PYMNTS that a trip to the grocery store sounded too risky, and 64 percent said they feel uneasy in all retail stores now. And given that 53 percent of the consumers we polled believe the pandemic will last over seven months –up from estimates of closer to five months seen in findings only two weeks earlier – it seems that Americans don’t trust the situation outside, which means the digital shift will drive on for now.