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Business | 6.16.20

COVID-19 | Consumer Insights for Business

Ellen Houston
Managing Director of Applied Data Science
Masa Aida
Principal Survey Scientist

L.E.K Consulting & Civis Analytics Pulse Report | Fielded June 4, 2020

In partnership with management consulting firm L.E.K. Consulting, Civis is publishing “COVID-19 in the U.S.: Consumer Insights for Businesses.” Administered approximately every two weeks, the survey tracks the pandemic’s impact on consumer sentiment as it relates to businesses, honing in on different segments, geographies and products. This 4th edition of the survey was fielded on June 4th, 2020. Responses from approximately 2,667 U.S. adults were weighted to be representative of the U.S. adult population.

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Consumer Sentiment Update

Outbreak severity

Consumer sentiment is significantly more positive than in the early stages of the outbreak. Economic sentiment is improving, with ~50% of consumers having a similar or slightly improved view of the U.S. economy (relative to March 18th).

  • ~44% of U.S. consumers believe the progression of the outbreak has improved in the last two weeks (up from ~22% on April 20 and ~4% on March 18).
  • The portion of consumers reporting a decline in income has decreased to ~37% (down from ~48% on April 20), likely driven by the increasing number of states that have loosened restrictions over the past month.

Within areas that have reopened, ~75% of consumers support lifting restrictions in some capacity. However, in areas that remain closed, ~80% of consumers support maintaining restrictions for at least the next few weeks.

  • Consumers in areas that have begun lifting restrictions are slow to return to visiting stores. While store visits are high within non-discretionary store types such as grocery and pharmacy, only ~15-20% of consumers indicated visiting a clothing / apparel store over the past 3-4 weeks.
  • ~5-10% visited a beauty store.
  • Consumers indicate that a significant majority of their store visits remain motivated by the need to pick up a specific item rather than browse as an activity.

Consumer activity has increased relative to early outbreak levels across all activities tested. However, activity remains below pre-COVID levels.

State Reopening

Google mobility data confirms an increase in activity for areas that are loosening restrictions. Retail, recreation, and workplace mobility has significantly increased relative to levels in March and April, but generally remains below pre-COVID levels. States that are open or partially open continue to demonstrate higher levels of activity relative to those that are not.

Consumer Activity

Impact on Regular / Monthly Spending

As states begin to lift restrictions, several product categories are seeing a change in spend relative to areas that are not lifting restrictions.

Spend is beginning to rebound in product categories that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak:

  • Consumers in areas lifting restrictions are beginning to increase spend on activities outside the home (e.g., dining out, fitness establishments / gyms, and entertainment outside the home)
  • Additionally, consumers in areas beginning to lift restrictions indicated an increased spend on beauty products, likely due to somewhat of a renewed focus on appearance as consumer slowly resume their traditional social lives

Some product categories experienced a decline in spend by consumers in areas lifting restrictions:

  • Vitamins, minerals, and supplements had a slight decrease relative to spend by consumers in areas not lifting restrictions
  • Television streaming experienced a decline as well, potentially due to consumers having more opportunities to engage in other recreational activities as states lift restriction and weather continues to improve

Grocery spend is similar for consumers in areas lifting restrictions and areas not lifting restrictions. As states continue to reopen, this spend may begin to shift closer to pre-COVID levels with consumers looking to dine out more or increase spend in other discretionary areas.

Electronic Spend

Impact on Travel

Only ~13% of consumers currently have summer travel plans they expect to keep with another ~30% considering summer travel plans.

As consumers decide to book travel plans, their strongest consideration is whether places are regularly cleaned. Additionally, consumers are highly concerned with restrictions in place at their destination (e.g. stay-at-home orders, quarantine requirements, status of reopenings, etc.) suggesting that as states reopen, more “considerers” may begin to book summer travel.

Summer Travel restrictions

Of the nearly 60% of consumers who do not anticipate traveling this summer, ~31% never intended to make travel plans this year. When excluding this group from those without travel plans, the top reasons for not booking travel are listed below.

Reasons for not booking

Consumers’ Desire to Return to Traditional Life

We examined which measures consumers indicated they want to see before resuming traditional travel and retail / entertainment activities. The results suggest businesses have a significant role to play in helping shape the return of their customers.

Within retail / entertainment activities, consumers indicated a number of enterprise hygiene measures were critical for resuming normal activity. Some of these measures are easier, lower cost options, such as effectively communicating the steps being taken to reduce risk. However, others have clear cost implications, such as investing in improved cleaning practices or choosing to implement capacity constraints alongside social distancing.

Retail Entertainment Activity

Within travel activities, a majority of consumers also find enterprise hygiene measures critically important to resuming normal activities.

The unique guest turnover within the travel space creates additional issues around feasibility of implementing various measures, such as improved cleaning, offering sanitizers, and capacity constraints. Hotel operators, airlines, rideshare companies, and others must evaluate which measures can be implemented without constraining operations to the point of unprofitability.


The full report with more insights, charts, graphs, and analysis can be downloaded by clicking the link below.


Download the Full Report


Download Full Survey Results from Prior Weeks

Week of June 4:      Report

Week of April 20:    Report

Week of April 1:      Report

Week of March 18: Report


Civis Analytics

L.E.K Consulting