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National Survey: Consumers Gripped by Coronavirus Fears and Lack Faith in Government’s Ability to Handle Outbreak

by Brian Colling - March 10, 2020

Consumers Gripped by Coronavirus Fears and Lack Faith in Government’s Ability to Handle Outbreak

The Colling Media market research team conducted a national Snapshot Study to understand consumer attitudes and perceptions about the coronavirus.

The survey, conducted on March 9-10, 2020, canvased 500 adults 18+ from throughout the United States. The purpose of the study was to reveal how consumers are responding to the coronavirus and whether they truly understand how it is transmitted.

The key findings of the Coronavirus survey.

1. Overall, consumers are anxious—51.5% of consumers say they are worried about contracting the coronavirus.

2. Already, 38.8% of Americans report cutting back on going to places like malls, banks, or restaurants.

3. A third of respondents (33.3%) say they are spending more than they usually budget on such items as cleaning products, toilet paper, tissues, hand sanitizers, and water because of concerns over germs. And 18.4% have canceled travel plans due to the spread of the virus.

4. By an overwhelming margin, participants in the survey take issue with coverage of the virus—63% believe that the media has exaggerated concerns about contracting COVID-19.

5. Promoters of spectator events have reason to worry—60% of respondents say they plan on avoiding large crowds such as those associated with sporting events, concerts, or political rallies because of health concerns.

6. While 47.9% of respondents say they are “certain” that they understand how the coronavirus spreads, a similar 44.6% say they are only “somewhat certain” they understand how it is transmitted. A worrisome 7.5% of consumers say they are “uncertain” how the virus spreads.

7. A majority of respondents (51.2%) say they are not confident that their state or federal government is capable of handling the coronavirus outbreak.

8. Among all respondents, 73.6% say they are closely following news about the coronavirus.

Survey Insight

“The coronavirus outbreak has gripped the nation and, as shown in our survey, it is already causing significant market disruption,” says Brian Colling, CEO of Colling Media. “But as with all problems, new opportunities have emerged. As an example, survey respondents say they are already cutting back on eating out, but the same restaurants may see a corresponding rise in food take-out or delivery. Similarly, brick-and-mortar in-store sales may fall, only to be replaced and perhaps exceeded by online sales.

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