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Americans' Levels of Satisfaction and Optimism Remain High, Despite Persisting Concerns About Restaurant Dining and Return to Normalcy

Fears of virus have long-term impact on American habits and priorities
by Press Release - Toluna
October 02, 2020

The Toluna Barometer is a bi-weekly index that taps into a community panel of 30+ million members providing accurate and timely information on the world’s perceptions regarding the Coronavirus. The latest research surveyed 1,082 respondents in the US.

The impact of COVID-19 has had a long-lasting impact on our behavior when it comes to restaurant dining.

KEY FINDINGS

Over the past weeks, Americans’ level of satisfaction and optimism has held surprisingly strong:

  • 50% report they are satisfied with their life
  • 49% are feeling optimistic about the future

Though Americans have settled in to their lives and are feeling generally satisfied, concerns for a second wave have not dissipated, as 61% of Americans are very concerned with a second wave of COVID:

  • 52% say they are more concerned about a second wave than an economic downturn (39%)
  • Most (54%) believe restrictions would need to be imposed for at least 9 weeks – longer if a second wave were to hit

Despite these fears, Americans are ready to get back to their normal lives and move on from restrictions. Respondents report they plan to do the following activities as lockdown eases:

  • 50% plan to shop in store, for clothes and groceries
  • 39% plan to go out to eat
  • 40% plan to online shop for clothes and groceries

One persisting concern for Americans is the return to normalcy and future of restaurant dining. Many have concerns, but are still eager to return:

Prior to the pandemic, 57% of people dined at a restaurant every 1-3 weeks

Now,

  • 36% are worried about restaurants closing
  • 29% are worried about returning to their local restaurants
  • 37% are eager to get back to dining in restaurants
  • 38% have missed the social aspect of dining in restaurants
  • 53% of Americans plan to continue cooking and eating more at home

EXPERT ANALYSIS

Esther Ward, Senior Research Executive, Harris Interactive:
“With confidence a lot lower now than pre COVID-19, and many consumers thinking carefully about what they choose to spend their money on, the need to understand consumers’ priorities has never been more important. As the pandemic continues, the way people choose to shop will continue to evolve and consumers will expect a lot more innovation by retailers and brands as a consequence. Brands need to continue to adapt to fit with ever-changing consumer needs.”


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