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COVID-19 Consumer Survey

The coronavirus pandemic is changing the way people work, learn, shop, and interact. We're surveying thousands of consumers around the world to better understand their rapidly evolving preferences, needs, and concerns.



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The personal and economic impacts of COVID-19 are reshaping the way the world does business.

To better understand these impacts, the IBM Institute for Business Value partnered with Survey Monkey to collect insights on consumers’ perceptions of the economy, shopping, work, health and well-being, travel and mobility, and more. In September, we surveyed more than 13,500 adults in Brazil, China, Germany, India, Mexico, Spain, the United States, and the United Kingdom. We plan to continue polling the public on these topics and more in the months ahead.

Bookmark this report


The personal and economic impacts of COVID-19 are reshaping the way the world does business.

To better understand these impacts, the IBM Institute for Business Value partnered with Survey Monkey to collect insights on consumers’ perceptions of the economy, shopping, work, health and well-being, travel and mobility, and more. In September, we surveyed more than 13,500 adults in Brazil, China, Germany, India, Mexico, Spain, the United States, and the United Kingdom. We plan to continue polling the public on these topics and more in the months ahead.

Economic and personal impacts
To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements?

COVID-19 concerns
Consumers are worried about health risks, a coronavirus resurgence, and the potential for more pandemics in the future.

The uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic continues to create genuine concern among individuals about their own future and that of their nation’s economy. Many people globally indicate the pandemic has made them concerned about the security of their jobs and is taking a toll on their mental health.

Most people say they are still concerned that lifting stay-at-home restrictions will result in another outbreak of COVID-19 in the area where they live. Significant concern also exists about a second wave of COVID- 19 hitting later in 2020. Meanwhile, many say the COVID-19 pandemic has made them more concerned about their own safety and health and the safety and health of their family members. Large numbers of respondents say they are very or extremely worried about themselves or a family member becoming infected and seriously ill.

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Work
Which of the following best describes your preference for your future work environment, when your employer returns to normal business operations?

Back to work?
The pandemic initially seemed to increase people’s desire to work from home, but the appeal may be waning. However, most still indicate they would like to have the option to work remotely.

In this uncertain environment, remote work continues to be an attractive option for most. More than one in five respondents indicate they would prefer to work remotely exclusively. Many are also looking for options and variety in their work arrangements as a majority of respondents in all countries indicate they would like to have remote working options at least occasionally. More than one in ten would prefer to return to their workplace exclusively.

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Consumer perspectives
Which of the following is true about your personal use of these shopping services/tools?

Shopping around
COVID-19 has spurred shoppers to explore different tools and services, and many say they will continue to use them in the future.

Many shoppers are taking advantage of various types of shopping tools and services (e.g., grocery, meal-kit and restaurant delivery, self-checkout) during the pandemic and many are likely to continue using them when life returns to “normal.” Responses from individuals in China, Brazil and Mexico indicate delivery services are very popular during the pandemic. While many respondents indicate they have tried a variety of services and tools during the pandemic, they also say they likely will use these services and tools less after the pandemic.

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Sustainability
How has the coronavirus pandemic changed the relative importance of sustainability for you as a factor when you choose a brand or retailer when shopping?

Sustainability rising
In the wake of the pandemic, consumers are putting a greater emphasis on sustainability.

Sustainability hit a tipping point prior to the pandemic and it has only increased in importance since then. Forty percent of consumers surveyed indicate sustainability is a bigger factor in their shopping choices because of the pandemic. And the importance of sustainability is even higher in emerging countries like China, India, and Brazil.

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Transportation
With the easing of restrictions on mobility, how has your own personal usage of the following types of mobility options changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Navigating a new world
Personal vehicles are becoming more popular as some people avoid public transportation.

In previous months we surveyed respondents about their intent to use various mobility options after COVID-19 restrictions were lifted. In August, more than 40 percent of respondents in Brazil and Mexico and nearly as many in India and Spain indicated they would use public transportation less. More than half of respondents in India, Mexico, and Brazil said they will no longer use public transport, or they will use it less. In the US, views on public transportation improved slightly in August. In July, nearly one in four people surveyed who typically use public transportation said they would no longer use this mode. In August, that number declined to 17 percent. And the percent who said they’ll likely use it less declined five points to 24 percent.

In September, we asked respondents to tell us how their personal usage of various mobility options has changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. One in four respondents globally indicate they are no longer using public transportation as a result of the pandemic while more than a third (38 percent) indicate they are using it less. Responses varied widely across countries. Only three percent of Chinese respondents indicate they will no longer use public transportation compared to more than a third of respondents in India, Mexico, and Brazil.

Ride sharing is also being impacted significantly by concerns over the spread of the virus. Nearly 60 percent of respondents globally indicate they are no longer using these services or using them less.

Other behaviors
Are you doing the following more or less since the beginning of the pandemic?

Screen time
From big cats to biopics, TV shows and movies have played a bigger role in people’s lives during COVID-19.

The coronavirus has upended most people’s lives and routines. As they learn to adapt to life in this new “normal,” many are spending more time engaging in virtual activities (e.g., consuming digital content, shopping online, playing video games) while many others are taking time for cooking, physical activity and interacting with family, either physically or virtually. Some are also seeking opportunities to learn. More than a third of Americans report taking more online training or education as a result of COVID-19.

How likely are you to do the following this Halloween?

The pandemic has upended our daily lives, routines, and traditions. As this unprecedented year rolls into autumn and Halloween approaches, people are once again faced with difficult decisions about what measures to take to protect themselves and their loved ones. We asked people how likely they are to participate in various Halloween traditions this year, and many indicate they will avoid events and activities they would typically do to celebrate the holiday.

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Will there be tricks and treats?
Many who say they’ve participated in Halloween activities in the past indicate they plan to skip or limit their celebrations this year.