ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Consumers are increasingly comfortable with out-of-the-home activities, and they think a "new normal" post-COVID-19 era is here to stay, but economic concerns have surged, reports Numerator.
Concern over COVID-19 has continued to decline from its omicron-driven spike at the turn of the year. One in three (34%) consumers say they are highly concerned about COVID, down from 42% last month and 50% in January.
February and March have seen comfort levels for all out-of-home activities rise. Behaviors with the most significant increases in comfort were shopping inside with no mask, traveling and eating inside a restaurant.
Despite the rising comfort levels, many don’t expect society to return to pre-COVID norms. More than 7 in 10 said they agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, "I think we will learn to live with COVID-19 rather than ever fully returning to a pre-COVID 'normal.'”
Three in four consumers expect normalcy by the end of 2022, up from just 69% in February and 67% in January. In the survey, 35% said they are already living normally, up significantly from prior months.
Consumer confidence in new normal timelines is increasing month-over-month. Thirteen percent think a return to normal will happen more quickly than previously expected, almost doubling from last month (7%) and up drastically from January (2%).
The U.S. economy remains an area of concern for most consumers. Almost 3 in 4 are now rating their level of economic concern as an 8/10 or higher (72%), up from 62% last month and even higher than the previous November spike of 67%.
Nearly nine in 10 (86%) say rising prices on essential goods and services are their primary concern. More than 2 in 3 worry about price increases on non-essential goods and services and/or product and supply shortages.