Nearly one-third (31%) of Americans have shifted their opinions to longer timetables as to when they believe they can 'resume normal activities', as tracked in the Consumer Coronavirus Behavior Survey from Brand Keys, TheCustomer, and data-driven decisions platform provider Suzy. Based on the study, the optimistic near-term looks to be October 2020, but the reality now appears to be closer to February 2021. This article is copyright 2020 The Best Customer Guide.

The research identified a significant shift in 10 out of 21 activities tracked, with consumers moving them into the one- to six-month range before they think it will be acceptable to participate again.

Activities consumers have decided they'll wait a bit longer before resuming included:

  • Going to the mall
  • Going to a spa
  • Attending classes in person
  • Voting in person
  • Going to a department store
  • Eating inside a restaurant
  • Going to a bar
  • Getting a haircut
  • Having people over
  • Visiting relatives

"With 5+ million COVID-19 cases, 167,000+ COVID deaths, and 56 million unemployment claims, a pessimistic reality has set in among many Americans," noted Robert Passikoff, founder and president for Brand Keys, a New York-based brand loyalty and customer engagement consultancy. "The pandemic isn't going away anytime soon, and consumers aren't hastily throwing themselves back into normal activities."

Is Anything Safe?
"Consumer attitudes did shift positively for three activities," explained Mike Giambattista, publisher of TheCustomer, a weekly newsletter covering intelligence from the customer insight universe. "Given the current economy and the pandemic, activities consumer felt would be reasonable to resume in the next 30 days reflect, perhaps, the setting in of 'cabin fever,' people sheltering-in have reported."

Those activities included:

  • Going to the gym
  • Using an Uber or Lyft
  • Using a motel room

Consequences of School Openings and Voting
"According to recent UNESCO reports, 100 countries are implementing nationwide school closures," said Giambattista. "In the United States, reopening primary and secondary schools has been politicized, with parents, teachers, and politicians at odds with when - and how - to reopen safely."

In a recent tweet, President Trump wrote, "Play College Football," calling for the sport to resume amid his push for academic institutions to reopen in the Fall. "It's interesting to note, the Pac-12 and Big Ten conferences have announced they will cancel or postpone the 2020 college football season due to the coronavirus pandemic," said Passikoff.

"As to voting in person," continued Passikoff, "Seventy percent of Americans believe the coronavirus outbreak will significantly disrupt people's ability to vote in the presidential election."

"Unfortunately, this wave of tracking data bears all that out," warned Giambattista.

The survey and analysis were conducted the week of August 3, 2020. Findings were based on 3,010 total responses from a US panel, aged 17-70 with a 50/50 gender split.