A study from IBM’s Institute for Business Value shows that the the coronavirus pandemic is affecting consumers’ plans and preferences, including how they move around, spend their money and use their free time.
More than half of the 25,000 American adults polled during the month of April said they plan to use ridesharing services less often or stop using them entirely, while almost a quarter said they would stop using taxis.
Consumers’ views of public transportation have also suffered, with more than 20 percent of respondents who regularly used buses, subways or trains saying they would stop using public transportation altogether and 28 percent saying they would use the services less often.
Interest in personal vehicles has had a corresponding rise, according to the study, but consumers are balancing the advantages of owning a car with concerns about the economy.
About 25 percent of the poll’s respondents said they planned to use a personal vehicle as their exclusive mode of transportation, while 17 percent said they would increase their use. But more than a quarter of respondents said they would hesitate to buy a car for at least six months due to economic uncertainty. Manufacturer incentive programs are not likely to change consumers’ minds about the purchase, they said.
Many employees would like to continue to work from home, at least sometimes, after pandemic-related restrictions lift, according to the study. More than 50 percent of respondents said they would like to do remote work primarily, while more than 75 percent said they would like to work remotely at least occasionally.
Jesus Mantas, senior managing partner for IBM Services, said the study shows that the coronavirus is permanently altering consumer behavior in the United States.
“There are long term implications of the new consumer behaviors for industries like retail, transportation, and travel among others. These organizations need to quickly adapt their business models to serve the new consumer behaviors in order to survive and thrive,” Mantas said in a statement.
More than half of those polled said they would avoid large crowds for the rest of 2020. Views of conferences and trade shows were particularly negative, with 75 percent of respondents saying they wouldn’t attend such an event in person for the rest of the year.
In contrast, only 10 percent of respondents said they would refuse to visit bars and restaurants, while a third said they would visit once such establishments reopen.
Outdoor recreation received a stronger positive response than indoor venues such as malls. About 20 percent of respondents said they would be ready to shop at malls and shopping centers when they reopen, while 25 percent said they would be ready to visit the beach and about 33 percent would be “very likely” to visit an outdoor park.
More than three-quarters of those polled said they were still buying basic goods in person, and a quarter said they were patronizing locally-owned stores more often or buying more local products. Interest in contactless payment has also grown, with 40 percent reporting they were likely to use the payment method while buying essential items.