Survey: Consumers more worried about finances than health during COVID-19 pandemic

by Kim Souza ([email protected]) 966 views 

As the coronavirus continues to stall the national economy, consumers surveyed in late March by marketing data firm Resonate, indicate a majority of households are more worried about their financial health than contracting COVID-19 and jeopardizing their physical being.

Resonate found 80% of respondents had deeper financial concerns than health worries. The report found many consumers still aren’t taking social distancing seriously. Two-thirds (65%) of people say they’ve left their home 1 to 3 times in the span of a week to visit a store, restaurant or other retail establishments. Another 18% have done so 4 or more times, with only 17% saying they have not left home.

The changing behaviors and stay-at-home orders remain challenging for the overall economy as more employers are furloughing their workforce and small businesses, as well as large enterprises, are shutting down or working at reduced capacity.

“The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has thrown every sector — from travel to retail to financial services — into disarray, and brands are struggling to understand the new reality and adapt to continual new information,” said Resonate CEO Bryan Gernert.

Looking at the financial threat of COVID-19, 61% of respondents said they have decreased their spending as a result of the crisis. Despite the majority of Americans expecting to get a personal stimulus check from the federal government’s CARES Act, 34% of respondents said they are less likely to remodel or refurbish their homes, 32% are less likely to purchase a home, 24% are less likely to take out a personal loan, while one in five said they don’t plan to leverage new financial services at all.

Consumers are monitoring expenses and sticking to budget more strictly during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. More than 70%of respondents said they have increased budgeting in recent weeks. Nearly 80% said they are spending less and roughly 77% said they are saving more.

Financial concerns were also high on the list of consumers surveyed. Nearly 70% said they do have some worry about losing their jobs. About the same number said they have some small concerns about having to cancel services or being disconnected by cable, internet or mobile phone providers.

A majority (75%) said they are somewhat worried about having their car repossessed should they lose their jobs. More than three-quarters of those surveyed said to a small extent they are worried about having to file bankruptcy, should the crisis continue into the summer months.

The majority (70%) is also worried the U.S. is in the midst of an economic recession as this crisis continues. More than half (56%) are worried about suffering an economic loss — reduced earnings from their jobs and their investments.

Consumers were asked about spending at retail and 55% said they expect to spend more at grocery and pharmacy in the next 90 days. More than 80% said they expect to purchase more online in the next quarter. That included 37% who expected a large increase in online shopping in the coming weeks.

Roughly 70% said they expect to order more take-out food in the next 90 days, as social distancing guidelines remain in place.

More than half (55%) of respondents said plans to purchase a new automobile had decreased at least to some extend amid the COVID-19 outbreak. More than 40% of respondents said they are less likely to make luxury purchases in the next 90 days.

Consumers also don’t plan to travel much before mid-summer, as nearly 70% said they have decreased plans to a large extent for visiting an amusement park, sporting event or other large public destination.

Plans to stay at a hotel, travel by plane or drive to destinations 5-hours away have decreased substantially according to 60% of respondents. They said with the COVID-19 outbreak, they don’t expect that to change before mid-summer.