New York, NY, 13.07.2020

Two-thirds of Americans are socializing again – and most are not following the rules

As the US struggles to shake off the COVID-19 virus, new GfK research suggests that the battle will be uphill. In interviews conducted last week, roughly half of Americans who had recently socialized in groups reported that they ignored distancing and mask protocols at least part of the time.

The latest wave of interviews from GfK’s Consumer Pulse studies shows that 65% of Americans socialized in groups ranging from five to 20 or more during the week of June 22nd. Of those who did socialize,

  • 29% always followed distancing and mask guidelines
  • 39% never followed guidelines
  • 32% followed guidelines only some of the time

GfK also found that

  • 63% of all Americans had been part of a group of under 5 the previous week,
  • 41% had joined a group of 5 to 20 people, and
  • 29% had gathered in a group of more than 20 people

Looking just at the largest (20-plus) gatherings, GfK learned that

  • Young adults (ages 16 to 35) at these events were three to four times as likely to ignore mask/distancing protocols, compared to older adults (ages 51 to 65)
  • People with children at home were roughly twice as likely to go without masks or distancing, compared to those with no kids
  • People in large urban metropolises were two to three times as likely to ignore guidelines during indoor events – compared to smaller cities and rural areas – but about equal to other regions for outdoor groups.

GfK also found that 42% of Americans feel strongly that being asked to wear a mask does not infringe on their personal rights – but 36% do believe (strongly or somewhat) their rights are being compromised.

When asked about visits to specific places, 42% of those who had been to a restaurant reported ignoring the distancing and/or mask guidelines. Among those who went to a swimming pool, the proportion jumped to 69%. And 61% of those who had visited friends or relatives eschewed the CDC recommendations.

GfK’s Consumer Pulse research covers 30 countries, allowing brands and marketers to #MasterTheCrisis by understanding consumer attitudes, behavior, purchase intent, media consumption, and more – both now and in the future. The research reveals changes in demand for goods and services, as well as which sectors and channels present risks or opportunities, so that companies can respond with confidence and come out of the crisis stronger, better positioned, and closer to consumers than before.

As part of this research, GfK interviewed a representative sample of 1,039 US consumers (ages 16 to 65) during June29th through July 1st, 2020.     

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