Latest MRI-Simmons COVID-19 Study Reveals Key Attitudes that Influence American Behavior

Identifying the segments — Accepting, Nervous, Bounce-Back, and Live & Learn

Attitudes about returning to school; society & COVID-19

Attitudes about social gatherings; satisfaction with safety protocols

‘Bounce-Back’ and ‘Live & Learn’ segments driving back-to-school and return-to-business choices

NEW YORK, NY, UNITED STATES, September 9, 2020 / — MRI-Simmons, the essential consumer truth set, today announced the release of its latest COVID-19 Consumer Study, providing in-depth analysis of consumer behaviors and attitudes resulting from the COVID-19 crisis. Among its many findings, the ongoing study showed continued increases in the number of Americans who feel ‘Nervous’ as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, as well as those who identify behaviorally as ‘Live & Learn’ – a group that plans to be more cautious in what they do and how they do it. The study also revealed attitudinal differences on back-to-school, business re-openings, and future vaccination plans.

General Attitudes

While the country continues to experience varying levels of restrictions, with some states transitioning in and out of lockdown scenarios, Americans are becoming more nervous and cautious as a result. Forty-one percent of Americans report feeling ‘Nervous’ due to COVID-19, up 6 percentage points from April. And 71% of Americans identify with a ‘Live & Learn’ attitude, reporting they will be a lot more cautious in the future – up 16 percentage points since April. (See Tables 1 and 2.)

Back to School

As school districts across the country reveal their plans for the 2020-2021 school year, American parents are divided on the best course of action. Forty-four percent of American parents prefer at-home schooling, while just 13% prefer their children go back to school full time. Looking at the attitudinal segments, half of the ‘Live & Learn’ group (those who plan to be more cautious) want their children to be at home full time, while only 27% of ‘Bounce-Backs’ want to go that route. (See Table 3.)

The ‘Bounce-Back’ and ‘Live & Learn’ segments also diverge when it comes to attitudes on wearing face masks and adoption of a future vaccine. Ninety-one percent of the ‘Live & Learn’ segment feel that wearing a face mask should be required, a full 37 percentage points higher than the ‘Bounce-Back’ segment. The two groups are slightly less divided when it comes to vaccination plans. Interestingly, half of Americans said they planned to get vaccinated as soon as a vaccine becomes available, even if the trials were rushed. (See Table 4.)

Social Gatherings

With many states lifting stay-at-home orders over the past couple of months, Americans report varying levels of comfort with social gatherings. Nearly 70% of adults are comfortable going to a friend’s house or being in an open space like a park or a beach, but those numbers shrink as the social gathering sizes increase. The ‘Bounce-Back’ segment (those who plan to go back to living life the way they used to) diverges significantly from the rest of the country, with 60% or more of the segment being comfortable returning to virtually all sizes of social gatherings. (See Table 5.)

“The COVID-19 crisis has caused significant changes to the consumer psyche,” said Karen Ramspacher, SVP Innovation and Insights at MRI-Simmons. “For marketers, understanding the attitudes and future intentions of these COVID-19 attitudinal segments will be critical to bridging the gap between what they’re feeling today, and how their behaviors will change tomorrow.”

Back to Business

The reopening of American business meant the implementation of safety protocols to ensure the well-being of customers. When asked how satisfied or dissatisfied they were with the safety protocols put in place by various business categories, people’s satisfaction is higher in settings where more control and spacing can be effectively implemented, like doctor’s offices and grocery stores. Conversely, beaches/public parks (35%), airlines (34%), and gym/fitness centers (32%) ranked highest for dissatisfaction amongst consumers. (See Table 6.)

To learn more:

Download MRI-Simmons’ latest COVID-19 report

• Register for the next MRI-Simmons COVID-19 webinar on September 17th

About the COVID-19 Consumer Insights Study

The MRI-Simmons COVID-19 Consumer Insights Study explores attitudes and behaviors related to the pandemic, including the impact COVID-19 has had on product purchases and intent, delayed, postponed and cancelled activities, media usage and preferences by category and platform, and much more. The August COVID-19 Study was an online study fielded July 16th to August 1st, 2020 across a nationally representative sample of 5000 adults in the US. Final data was weighted and projected to the US population for tabulation and fused to MRI-Simmons national datasets for deeper profiling.

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