Consumer Confidence Is Beginning to Waver Again, According to Survey Data

While gains were made in consumer confidence as recently as July 2021, an updated study conducted last week by First Insight shows that the Delta variant is negatively affecting consumer confidence. In fact, in just a month, there was a 25 percent increase in the number of consumers reporting they are very or somewhat worried about COVID-19 — marking the highest one-month jump since March 2020.

At the same time, although proof of vaccinations for entry to restaurants and other businesses are largely becoming mandated across the country, the survey revealed that the unvaccinated population remains steadfast in its decision to decline the vaccine with 90 percent of those unvaccinated indicating the mandates will not persuade them.

“It is very telling that a mere 10 percent of respondents say they would consider getting the vaccine due to some businesses and restaurants requiring proof of vaccination,” said Greg Petro, chief executive officer of First Insight. “It appears that people’s minds are made up about whether to get vaccinated and more education may be required to change their minds. Hopefully, we will spend the time and effort to do so for everyone’s sake, thus allowing everyone to make his or her own, educated choice.”

Additionally, alongside a decrease in consumer confidence, the company’s recent survey indicates that 56 percent of consumers plan to cut back on spending.

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“I believe the trends we’re seeing may very well lead to families hunkering down again and curtailing experiential spending, especially for domestic and international travel, and shifting this spend toward physical products, including back-to-school items,” Petro said. “Interestingly, women, the primary back-to-school shoppers, are significantly less likely to be vaccinated than men, with one-third of women stating that they don’t intend to be vaccinated versus only 18 percent of men. Further, Millennials, the generation most likely to have school-age children, are also the least likely generation to be vaccinated.”

Notably, safety concerns around in-store shopping increased over the past month with 53 percent of survey respondents saying they feel unsafe trying on products in dressing rooms, 49 percent saying they feel unsafe trying on shoes and 71 percent saying they feel unsafe testing beauty products in-store. Additionally, 56 percent of respondents reported feeling unsafe working with a sales associate — a notable 30 percent increase from last month.

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