Consumer Expectations Change as the Pandemic Enters a New Season

The Consumer Brands Association’s latest COVID-19 poll asked more than 1,300 American adults about their opinions on the coronavirus and its effect on the country. The data shows a country normalized by a persistent threat and contending with growing anxiety over what’s ahead. When the pandemic began, 36 percent of Americans described themselves as “very concerned” in mid-March, which jumped up to a majority quickly after and has yet to dip below 50 percent since. While most Americans, 72 percent, are still optimistic about the next six months, that optimism has dipped slightly since June, from 76 percent. The perennial lengthening of the timetable for returning to normal and the whiplash changes in the news about the virus, whether driven by politics or new information, has pushed optimism lower. While the supply chain has largely solved for shortages of high-demand products like toilet paper, meat and cleaning supplies brought on by panic-buying early in the pandemic, Americans’ fears over access to those products have not.