Consumers are returning to Malls, survey says

The newest Coresight Research data says that people’s avoidance of any type of public place remained level at 80% this week. However, there’s a gradual declining trend in the avoidance of shopping centers/malls, which dropped roughly 10 percentage points this week compared to the peak of two-thirds on July 22. The rate this week is also the lowest level that we have seen since July.

The proportion of respondents that are currently avoiding food-service locations bounced back slightly, after declining last week to the lowest level in months. Some 54% are currently avoiding restaurants, bars and coffee shops, versus 58% last week. This rate is still considered low, compared to the level in July and the beginning of August.

Online food purchases declined slightly this week—some 22% are currently buying more food online than before the crisis, versus one-quarter last week. The proportion of respondents that had bought groceries online dropped six percentage points to 28% this week. After taking the number-one spot as the most popular spending activity for the past three weeks, this decline shifted online grocery shopping down to third place. One-third of respondents had bought apparel online in the past two weeks, consistent with the average level we saw in July and August. This compares to the 22% of consumers that had bought apparel in a store.

This week, we saw a week-over-week fall in the proportion of respondents that are currently buying more and buying less across any category. The decline in consumers buying more was driven by fewer purchases in essentials, including household products, food and personal care.

Apparel remains the most slashed category, but it has seen a slight decline in the number of shoppers making fewer purchases and a gradual increase in the proportion saying that they are currently making more apparel purchases. This resulted in a lower ratio of respondents purchasing less apparel to those purchasing more—2.7 this week, versus 3.2 last week and 4.4 two weeks before.