Consumers Now Feel More at Ease in Stores

Shoppers value convenience and are more budget conscious, study finds.

November 17, 2020

NEW YORK—As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, consumer safety perceptions are slowly improving worldwide, but the economy continues to worry many U.S. consumers, according to Deloitte research.

The "Deloitte's Global State of the Consumer Tracker" surveyed at least 1,000 consumers in 18 countries, and the responses indicate how consumers across the globe are weathering the crisis.

Consumer safety perceptions are slowly improving, with 61% of adults saying they "feel safe" going to the store, up from a low of 30% in April. But in the U.S. where the last round of economic relief has expired, financial stress remains area of concern for many. The survey also found that:

  • Twenty-nine percent of U.S. respondents said they were struggling to make upcoming payments.
  • For those under the age of 54, 39% of Americans are concerned about their credit card balances, and 42% are worried about how much money they have in savings.
  • Forty-one percent of respondents are willing to pay for convenience to get the things they need, a figure that has remained consistent since early April. Protecting health (45%) outranked saving time (42%) and reducing stress (33%) as the main drivers of convenience spending.
  • Contactless buy online pick-up in store (BOPIS) is rapidly becoming more popular because consumers see it as faster (34%) and safer (32%) than in-store shopping.
  • Consumers are extremely budget conscious, with 36% of those surveyed saying they use BOPIS because it is cheaper than delivery.
  • Financial constraints are still hindering leisure travel, with 17% of respondents reporting that the pandemic has made travel difficult to afford.
  • On a more positive note, 27% of U.S. respondents said they would feel safe attending school in-person, and slightly less than half (49%) noted they would feel safe returning to their workplace.
  • One-third (33%) of U.S. respondents said they would feel safe flying again, regardless of the destination—up from 23% on April 9.
  • Forty-five percent of U.S. travelers report feeling safe staying in a hotel, up from 19% on April 9.

"As we saw earlier this year, health concerns and spending are closely intertwined,” said Stephen Rogers, executive director, Deloitte Insights Consumer Industry Center. “Consumers are beginning to feel more comfortable with resuming some activities of pre-pandemic life despite a third wave rising in the U.S. Financial concerns are on the upswing. Overall discretionary consumer spending is likely to be restrained. Increasingly, the average consumer will be looking to contactless commerce, convenience and bargains throughout the remainder of 2020."

The NACS Crack the Code Experience, which runs through Dec. 4, offers an in depth look into the “new normal” that retailers are facing in the age of the coronavirus pandemic. Don’t miss the education session “Adapting to the COVID-19 Disruption: Is There a 'New Normal'?,” for details on the retail transformation taking place. Register now and get access to these sessions, along with 50+ education sessions, virtual showrooms and online networking within the convenience and fuel retailing industries.

Coronavirus Resources

NACS has compiled resources to help the convenience retail community navigate the COVID-19 crisis. For news updates and guidance, visit our coronavirus resources page.