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NewYork, 19.03.2020

85% of Americans say they plan to alter buying habits due to COVID-19

In new GfK study, three quarters say that the way companies act during the crisis will affect future purchase decisions

Just-released research from GfK shows that the novel Coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) will have significant short- and long-term effects on brand affinity and consumer purchases in the US.

Conducted over the last two days (March 17-18, 2020), the nationally representative study shows that 85% of all Americans expect to change their purchase behavior because of the virus. In fact, two-thirds (67%) are concerned about their ability to make ends meet during the crisis.

Click here to download a sample report from Wave  1 of this study

The shopping-related adjustments that consumers expect to make include 

  • Preparing food more often
  • Shopping during non-peak hours
  • Doing more online shopping
  • Postponing or canceling personal service appointments

Over the next few weeks, consumers say they plan to spend more on “essentials” such as cleaning products, canned goods, and bottled water – and less on apparel, toys, and other “optional” items.

But COVID-19 may also have longterm impacts for some brands. Roughly three quarters (73%) of those surveyed say that the way companies conduct themselves during the crisis will impact whether they do business with those brands or retailers in the future.

Levels of concern jump dramatically

GfK found that virtually all (98%) Americans are now aware of the virus, and nearly half (47%) are “very concerned” about the virus’s impact – up from 24% in GfK’s study just two weeks ago.
Seven in 10 Americans (70%) say they are practicing some form of social distancing, such as self-quarantining, working from home, or avoiding public places.

 In addition, reports of taking other steps to prevent contracting the virus have jumped dramatically in just two weeks:

  • Stocking up on non-perishable food items – now reported by 36% of Americans, compared to 13% in our last survey
  • Using hand sanitizer regularly (42% now versus 27% then)
  • Following virus news closely (52% versus 35%)

For this second wave of the Coronavirus Consumer Pulse study, GfK interviewed a nationally representative online sample of 1,076 US residents (age 18+) during March 17-18, 2020.

To learn about GfK’s complete global research related to COVID-19, visit our resource page at this link.



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