As Stores Reopen, Consumers Feel Least Safe Shopping in Malls, Safest Shopping in Grocery and Drug Stores

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NEW YORK—A new First Insight survey has uncovered consumer sentiment around feelings of safety when visiting several store formats as states nationwide consider how best to reopen while also protecting against further coronavirus spread.

According to First Insight, the majority of consumers surveyed would feel safest shopping in grocery stores (54 percent) and drugstore chains (50 percent). Forty-five percent of consumers would feel safe shopping at big box retailers, and 43 percent saying the same when shopping at local small businesses and warehouse clubs, respectively.

Malls were ranked lowest with only 33 percent of respondents saying they would feel safe shopping in these locations, according to First Insight’s announcement of the survey findings.

The survey also found that men feel much safer overall than women going back into retail stores. For example, while 58 percent of men feel safe shopping at a grocery store, only 49 percent of women feel the same. Similarly, 49 percent of men surveyed feel safe shopping at big box retailers, compared with 43 percent of women, the smallest percentage difference. More men (47 percent) also feel safer than women (39 percent) shopping at local small businesses.

First Insight’s latest survey also found that 80 percent of respondents prefer to use their own face masks and 70 percent prefer to use their own gloves rather than masks or gloves provided by the retailer when shopping in-store.

An infographic highlighting the survey’s findings is available to download here

"As retailers and brands grapple with big questions related to reopening stores, it’s clear from our findings that consumers have varying degrees of comfort within different store environments and formats," First Insight chief executive officer Greg Petro said. "As retail visits expand past essential retail like grocery and drug stores, other retailers, and malls in particular, need to be thinking of ways to inspire a sense of safety for consumers, and it will need to go beyond offering gloves and masks at the door. It’s also likely that retailers will see more men in-store than women, and they should consider adjusting inventory to target these shoppers,” he added.

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