Shaping consumer behaviors in The New Normal

Insights
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Erinn Steffen

Senior Vice President, Insight
08.27.2020

As the COVID-19 crisis drags on, the economic fallout continues to impact Americans’ spending habits and financial outlook. Mower recently polled 1,020 U.S. adults* to find out more about the adjustments we’re making as we navigate “the new normal.”

A pause on big purchases.

Overall, fewer than half of Americans (46%) are comfortable financing a large purchase in today’s economy. Electronics, kitchen appliances and furniture are the big-ticket items they’re most comfortable buying right now. Lower on the comfort scale are vehicles, home improvements and houses. Close to 30% say they would be extremely uncomfortable buying a house at this time, despite record-low mortgage rates.

Dems and young adults are the most wary.

Democrats are particularly cautious, with 61% reporting they are somewhat to extremely uncomfortable buying a big-ticket item, compared to 56% of independents and 45% of Republicans. But with age comes more confidence. While only 42% of Gen Zers, the youngest demographic, feel at least somewhat secure paying off a large purchase, that number rises to 50% among the more established boomer and silent generations.

Virtual appointments could be here to stay.

The need to socially distance has led to an increase in video consultations and appointments during COVID-19—and in some industries, their success could lead to a permanent shift. More than 40% of Americans would be interested in continuing to have virtual doctor’s appointments, and one in four is open to post-COVID virtual consultations with accountants, lawyers and financial advisors. That said, fewer than one in five are keen on virtual home repair and improvement quotes or dental appointments for services, like teeth molds, that don’t require an in-person visit. And just one in 10 would book a virtual home tour, test drive or wedding/event consultation once in-person visits are deemed safe.

Making the home more habitable.

Whether they are homebodies by nature or necessity, people are spending more time actually living in their living space than ever, and for just under half of Americans—particularly younger adults—that has led to investing in home improvements. Baby boomers and silents were the least likely to feel the need to nest, with 66% reporting no planned changes.

Topping the list of planned improvements are updated landscaping or new indoor/outdoor plants (19%), followed by interior upgrades from redecorating a room to installing new air conditioning (17%).

Millennials are making the most interior changes while boomers and silents are more likely to focus on plants and landscaping. Gen Zers have the edge over other generations on outdoor living improvements—from buying outdoor furniture to installing a fire pit/feature, deck/patio or pool.

Feel free to contact me for more insights!

*Mower conducted a survey on June 22–24, 2020, with a random sampling of 1,020 U.S. adults ages 18+. Responses were obtained using Dynata, a research panel provider (margin of error: +/- 3.1%).

Hey! Our name is pronounced Mōw-rrr, like this thing I’m pushing.