New research from proximity search optimization platform MomentFeed sheds light on a question that is on the minds of many business leaders: “Once concern around COVID-19 subsides, will consumers return to brick-and-mortar businesses, or will new online behaviors turn into lasting preferences?”
The new study, Impact of COVID-19 on National, Brick-And-Mortar Brands, indicates a clear consumer shift online during COVID-19, but consumers do plan to go back to brick-and-mortar businesses coming out of this crisis. In fact, 91 percent of consumers report they will return to restaurants, movie theaters, gyms, salons, stores, and banks, with 32 percent saying they will visit these businesses more than before COVID-19.
However, the survey also suggests that some online behaviors could last, with 28 percent of consumers planning to visit online business more than before COVID-19.
“Such an extraordinary event that has dramatically altered our daily routines will undoubtedly leave its mark; while normalcy will return, it will be different,” said Nick Hedges, CEO of MomentFeed, in a news release. “Brick-and-mortar businesses should prepare for a slow transition back to the ‘new normal,’ using every tool available to them to listen to their customers and anticipate what services and products they need and want.”
Consumers limit visits to “essential” brick-and-mortar businesses amid COVID-19
- Consumer preferences are shifting online during COVID-19, with 82 percent of consumers visiting online businesses and 34 percent visiting more than before the crisis.
- In contrast, only 45 percent of consumers are visiting brick-and-mortar businesses and 26 percent are visiting less than before the crisis.
- Grocery stores are seeing the most traffic during COVID-19, with 82 percent of consumers still frequenting businesses in this category. A majority of survey respondents (55 percent) are limiting their grocery store visits.
- Sixty-six percent of consumers report visiting convenience stores during this time and 62 percent said they visit banks.
- Half of all survey respondents report they are still visiting quick-serve restaurants, while only 35 percent said they are visiting dine-in restaurants.
- U.S. adults have overwhelmingly moved to cooking for themselves, with the portion of prepare-at-home meals increasing from 60 percent to 78 percent during COVID-19, a 30 percent increase relative to pre-COVID-19 levels.
- Dine-out has dropped by two-thirds—from 21 percent to 7 percent—while takeout/delivery meals fell from 19 percent to 15 percent, a 21 percent decrease relative to pre-COVID-19 levels.
Consumers are eager to return to pre-COVID-19 routines—and maybe even more brick and mortar—once concern subsides
- All is not lost for brick-and-mortar businesses; 91 percent of consumers indicate they will visit restaurants, movie theaters, gyms, salons, stores, and banks, once concerns about contracting the disease subside, and 32 percent indicate they will visit more frequently than before COVID-19.
- Dine-in restaurants will likely see a quick resurgence of traffic, with 39 percent of respondents saying they plan to visit restaurants more than before COVID-19.
- Grocery stores will also see a resurgence, with 35 percent of respondents reporting they will visit more frequently than before COVID-19.
- Entertainment (theaters, arcades, etc.) and retailers should also see strong support, with one-third of respondents indicating they will visit more than before pre-COVID-19.
- Gyms on the other hand, might see fewer unique visitors than before COVID-19, but survey respondents were more likely to say they will visit “more often than ever before” when compared to other industries.
To better understand consumer buying behavior amid COVID-19, MomentFeed commissioned a survey with Zogby Analytics. The survey was conducted March 25-26, 2020 among 1,010 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. The survey respondents were equitably located throughout the country and represented a diverse sample of ages, genders, ethnicities, education levels, income levels, and number of children.