Retailers Will Have to Get Their Creative Juices Flowing
The retail world has some work to do if it wants to get consumers out of their homes and back to restaurants, shopping malls, movie theaters and concert venues in the next few months.
According to a recent report from Morning Consult, most consumers are still afraid to come out of hiding to go have a steak or watch the new James Bond movie. While coronavirus cases are still rising, the daily percentage of cases is leveling off and going down — we have flattened the curve. But that doesn’t seem to be enough for anxious consumers.
For instance, only 26 percent of consumers said they would be willing to eat at a restaurant in the next two months, according to Morning Consult’s latest poll, taken among 2,200 U.S. adults from April 22-24. That compares to 21 percent when Morning Consult took the same poll April 7-9. The fact that it’s trending up bodes well, but 26 percent is still low.
The numbers are worse for shopping malls: Only 19 percent of consumers said they are willing to go to a shopping mall within the next two months, according to the latest poll. That number is up from 16 percent two weeks ago.
Movie theaters might really be in trouble. Only 16 percent of consumers said they are willing to go to the movies within the next two months, according to Morning Consult’s April 22-24 poll, which is only a 1 percent increase from the earlier poll. Netflix and other streaming content companies might have something to do with this, though. In the first quarter, Netflix added an astounding 16 million new subscribers, more than double of what analysts expected, and many industry insiders believe Netflix will sustain its current head of steam.
All of these numbers — as eye-popping as they are — could change quickly, though. Consider that there are plenty of consumers sitting on the fence in Morning Consult’s poll. For instance, 33 percent of consumers polled April 22-24 said they didn’t know when they would feel comfortable returning to movie theaters.
For now, retailers from all genres are presented with the challenge of figuring out ways to keep their businesses going as the economy opens back up. It’s time to get creative, which some businesses are doing. Consider the restaurants that turned themselves into independent grocery stores.
Of course, a vaccine and other reliable COVID-19 treatments could be game changers for the economy to get back on track.