July Update: Tracking Statewide Perceptions

In April, Chernoff Newman conducted a statewide consumer insight study to give a snapshot of the impact the coronavirus was having on our state. In July, they conducted another round of data collection. These studies provide insight into how consumers have modified their behaviors and they serve as a benchmark to help businesses measure change throughout the duration of the pandemic.

Chernoff Newman’s Peter LaMotte, Senior Vice President, and Fenton Overdyke, Director of Research, joined us for a webinar to discuss the most recent findings and their implications for your business.

The July insights largely found that the concerns about COVID-19 have remained pretty consistent and are not going away anytime soon. Concerns about health and finances have both remained steady since April: in July, 74% of consumers were concerned about their health (compared to 77% in April) and 56% were concerned about their financial situation (compared to 60% in April). About one in five consumers consider themselves to be in meltdown mode or close to it. However, the proportion of consumers who feel they are in a good place is up from April.

In addition to health and finance, concerns remain about both the coronavirus in general and the economy. Consumers know that this is not over and recognize that we’re in it for the long haul. Despite this recognition, consumers have a great deal of confidence in the South Carolina economy and that their job will be there when the pandemic is over.

When it comes to consumer behavior, 47% say they are constantly social distancing, 49% are wearing a mask in public and 61% are frequently washing their hands. Prevention is on consumers’ minds and is something they are thinking about. The study also revealed that 82% of consumers agree that businesses have the authority to require a mask – and 63% of consumers strongly agree.

This demonstrates the strength of the business community; consumers are looking to businesses and giving them permission to take this step. Wearing a mask is one of four simple actions outlined by One Region Ready that can be taken to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

These four things, among others, are simple actions your business can take to make your customers feel safe. The study found that many consumers are more likely to visit your store when you take measures like requiring masks for employees and customers, enforcing social distancing, limiting number of customers and having hand sanitizer available.

Overall, Chernoff Newman’s study found that concern has remained  fairly consistent over the last few months, and that it probably won’t change drastically over the next few. However, it also reveals that consumers are giving businesses the opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to customer safety. By recognizing this, businesses can take the steps needed to show customers they care about their health and safety, and in turn contribute to our region’s recovery efforts. Businesses can show their commitment to health and safety by signing the One Region Ready Pledge.

Get more insights from Chernoff Newman’s study at insights.chernoffnewman.com, watch the full webinar with Peter and Fenton or download the webinar deck. More guidance on how to safely operate your business and help stop the spread of the coronavirus can be found at oneregionready.com.

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