by Stephen Garner
Getty Images

With hopeful signals that Coronavirus infections may be plateauing in hot spots like New York, a new study by First Insight found that an overall majority (60 percent) of consumers in the U.S. feel that stores should reopen by the end of May.

Fielded on April 3rd, the study also found increasing optimism among consumers living in several hotspots outside of New York, Millennials and men, who were most likely to believe stores should be open weeks earlier – at the end of April or early May.

However, worth noting, concerns about the impact of Coronavirus continue to grow, with 87 percent of consumers surveyed now saying they are worried about the Coronavirus, versus 71 percent in the last survey in mid-March, an increase of 23 percent.

While overall, 32 percent of respondents felt stores should open by the end of April/beginning of May, optimism was higher in several Coronavirus hot spots. Forty-three percent of respondents living in Detroit, Chicago, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and San Francisco felt stores should reopen by the end of April or early May. By comparison, 35 percent of respondents in the New York City, New Jersey, and Connecticut areas felt the same, on par with rural areas (the survey was performed before Governor Cuomo’s executive order extending the New York Pause to the end of April). The greater Seattle area in Washington state showed to be the least optimistic, with only 28 percent of respondents agreeing.

Interestingly, between 59-63 percent of respondents across every generation felt stores should be open by the end of May. However, Millennials are proving to be the most hopeful that stores will be opening sooner, with 39 percent of Millennials feeling stores should be open by the end of April/early May compared to 31 percent of Generation Z, 30 percent of Generation X and 28 percent of Baby Boomers.

“It’s clear that people are getting antsy and ready to get back to some form of normalcy, including shopping in-store,” said Greg Petro, CEO of First Insight. “However, the continuing increases in percentages of those worried about the Coronavirus in the last weeks points to the true reality of the situation. We may still have a way to go. That said, it is important that retailers and brands continue planning by ensuring they have the right product and price when the time comes, even if it’s just being offered online for now.  It’s a delicate balance, but those who are connected closest with their customers will be best aligned should they be given the green light to reopen their doors.”