Long-Term Impact of COVID-19: New Survey Shows How Perceptions Have Changed Since April

blog: The Long-term Impact of COVID-19: How Have Consumer Perceptions Changed

As we approach the end of 2020, we are still living in what seems to be a never-ending pandemic.

There is no doubt that consumer behavior has changed as a result of COVID-19, but our market research company wanted to better understand if consumer perceptions have changed for better or for worse since April. 

In April of 2020, Drive Research conducted an online survey about the COVID-19 pandemic. We measured how Coronavirus shifted consumer perceptions, attitudes, concerns, and purchasing behaviors.

In December of 2020, our market research firm in New York decided to revisit these same questions to see how sentiment around COVID-19 has changed months later. Here are the results.

Key Findings

  • Nearly three in four (71%) people are concerned about the economy - a 27% decrease from April.
  • 69% of people are concerned about their family’s health - a 27% decrease from April.
  • 60% of people are concerned about their own health - a 30% decrease from April 2020.
  • Respondents least concerned about their health included those 65 or older (56%).
  • 64% of respondents are concerned about attending a large gathering of 10 or more people. 
  • Over half of respondents are concerned about their job/job market (54%). This is a 19% decrease from April 2020.
  • In April, 51% of respondents did not see the pandemic lasting longer than June 2020. Now, most people believe that the COVID-19 pandemic will last until 2022 or later (27%).
  • Post-pandemic, people are most looking forward to not having to wear a mask (62%) and gatherings with friends and families (62%).

For more context, Drive Research shares results from each survey question as well as demographic breakdowns below.


What is the level of concern with COVID-19?

In one way or another, consumers have had to adjust their lives as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, whether it be working from home, wearing a mask, or living completely isolated from loved ones.  

As part of this online survey, respondents were asked about their level of concern with COVID-19 across 10 different areas. 

Areas of top concern included: 

  • The economy (71%)
  • Family’s health (69%)
  • Attending a large gathering (10+ people) (64%)

Areas of least concern included: 

  • Attending a small gathering (Less than 10 people) (39%)
  • Going to work (40%)
  • Grocery shopping (41%)

chart comparing concern levels with covid-19 from april to december 2020

The Economy 

Nearly three in four (71%) respondents were concerned about the economy. 

This is a 27% decrease from our survey in April 2020, where the level of concern with the economy was 97%. 

Those most concerned about the economy included: 

  • Those aged 45 to 54 (84%)
  • Respondents residing in the Northeast (73%)

Those least concerned about the economy included: 

  • Those aged 18 to 24 (50%)
  • Respondents residing in the Midwest (63%)

Family’s Health

Nearly three in four (69%) respondents were concerned about their family’s health. 

This is a 27% decrease from the April 2020 survey, where 94% were concerned about their family’s health.  

Those most concerned about their family’s health included: 

  • Those aged 45 to 54 (75%) and 35 to 44 (73%)
  • Respondents residing in the Northeast (71%)

Those least concerned about their family’s health included: 

  • Those aged 18 to 24 (61%)

Nearly three in four (69%) respondents were concerned about their family’s health.   This is a 27% decrease from the April 2020 survey, where 94% were concerned about their family’s health.

My Health

Three in five (60%) respondents were concerned about their own health. 

This is a 30% decrease from April 2020, when 86% were concerned about their health. 

Those most concerned about their health included: 

  • Those aged 45 to 54 (72%)
  • Respondents residing in the Northeast (68%) and the South (62%)

Those least concerned about their health included: 

  • Those aged 18 to 24 (52%), 25 to 34 (52%), and 65 or older (56%)
  • Respondents residing in the Midwest (54%) and West (56%)

Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine

Half of the respondents were concerned about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine (50%).

Our market research company shares detailed findings and cross-tabulations of this question here: How Many People Plan to Get the COVID-19 Vaccine? New Survey Reveals 1 in 2 Americans. 

Job/Job Market 

Just over half (54%) of respondents were concerned about their job/job market. 

This is a 19% decrease from April 2020, where the level of concern with jobs/job market was 67%. 

Those most concerned about their job/job market included: 

  • Those aged 45 to 54 (68%)
  • Respondents residing in the South (59%) and the Northeast (58%)
  • Females (55%)

Those least concerned about their job/job market included: 

  • Those aged 65 or older (38%)
  • Respondents residing in the Midwest (46%)

Going to the Gym

Nearly half (48%) of respondents were concerned about going to the gym.

Those most concerned about going to the gym included: 

  • Those aged 55 to 64 (53%)
  • Respondents residing in the Northeast (54%)

Those least concerned about going to the gym included: 

  • Those aged 18 to 24 (40%)
  • Respondents residing in the South (45%)

Overall, the level of comfortability with using gyms seems to be increasing. In May 2020, Drive Research surveyed 600 gym-goers and found that 76% would not go to the gym even if face masks were required. 

gym-infographic-covid-19

Grocery Shopping

Three in five (41%) respondents were concerned about grocery shopping. 

Those most concerned about grocery shopping included: 

  • Those aged 45 to 54 (51%) and 35 to 44 (49%)
  • Females (45%)
  • Respondents residing in the Northeast (47%)

Those least concerned about grocery shopping included: 

  • Those aged 65 or older (29%)
  • Males (35%)
  • Respondents residing in the Midwest (34%)

Going to Work

Three in five (40%) respondents were concerned about going to work. 

Those most concerned about going to work included: 

  • Those aged 35 to 44 (52%) and 45 to 54 (51%)
  • Respondents residing in the Northeast (46%)

Those least concerned about going to work included: 

  • Those aged 65 or older (15%)
  • Respondents residing in the Midwest (35%)

Attending a Large Gathering (10+ people)

Just over three in five (64%) respondents were concerned about attending a large gathering of 10 or more people. 

Those most concerned about attending a large gathering included: 

  • Those aged 65 or older (78%)
  • Respondents residing in the Northeast (71%) 

Those least concerned about attending a large gathering included: 

  • Those aged 18 to 24 (50%)
  • Respondents residing in the Midwest (60%)

Attending a small gathering (Less than 10 people)

Two in five (39%) respondents were concerned about attending a small gathering of fewer than 10 people. 

Those most concerned about attending a small gathering included: 

  • Those aged 45 to 54 (46%) and 35 to 44 (44%)
  • Respondents residing in the Northeast (42%) 

Those least concerned about attending a small gathering included: 

  • Those aged 18 to 24 (30%)
  • Respondents residing in the Midwest (37%)

quote text: Two in five (39%) respondents were concerned about attending a small gathering of less than 10 people.


How do long do consumers think COVID-19 will last?

A lot has changed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In April, many (51% to be exact) did not see the pandemic lasting longer than June of 2020. In fact, very few (8%) thought coronavirus would still be an issue in 2021 or later. 

However, as we approach 2021, Americans are significantly less optimistic than they were in April.

Now, over a quarter (27%) of Americans believe that the COVID-19 pandemic will last into 2022 or later. 

Respondents were asked, “When do you expect the COVID-19/Coronavirus crisis to end and life to return to normal in your community?”

Here are their predictions as to when life will get back to “normal:”

  • This winter (December 2020 to February 2021): 13%
  • Spring 2021 (March to May): 20%
  • Summer 2021 (June to August): 22%
  • Fall 2021 (September to November): 10%
  • December 2021 or later: 36%

What are people looking forward to doing after the COVID-19 pandemic has ended?

Drive Research asked respondents, “What are you most looking forward to post-pandemic?”

Highest on the list was: 

  • Not having to wear a mask (62%)
  • Gatherings with friends and families (62%)
  • Vacations/travel (55%)

Respondents were also looking forward to: 

  • No-restriction dining (46%)
  • Concerts (29%)
  • Sporting events (27%)

Quote Text #4_ Post-pandemic, people are most looking forward to not having to wear a mask (62%) and gatherings with friends and families (62%).


Survey Methodology 

This PR survey was conducted by Drive Research among a national audience between December 14th and December 16th, 2020, using a market research panel. 

The online survey collected a total of 1,012 responses at the 95% confidence level offers a 3.1% margin of error

If the survey was conducted with another random pool of 1,012 Americans, results would yield within +3.1% or -3.1% of the stated totals.

The margin of error can be used as a guideline to understand the high reliability of these results.

The sample was representative of the U.S. population in terms of: 

  • Age
  • Race/ethnicity 
  • Geography 

Contact Drive Research 

Drive Research is a PR survey company located in New York. Our services extend across the U.S. and the world. Our market research firm works with a variety of organizations, helping deliver insights, action items, and ROI on their survey efforts.

Interested in conducting a study with our team? Contact us below!

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at info@driveresearch.com
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

elizabeth sincavage author of market research company blog

Elizabeth Sincavage

Elizabeth has a curious mind and is never afraid to ask “why?” She discovered her passion for research and exploring data while completing her bachelor’s degree at Marist College. As a researcher, she believes you’re never truly done learning.


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