NEW YORK — Americans are really missing how life was like before COVID-19. Even more than seeing our loved ones, a new survey finds most of the country just wants to go out to eat again.
The OnePoll study of 2,000 Americans, commissioned by Capital One, examined just how much people are craving their pre-pandemic lives. The top things Americans are pining for include dining out at a restaurant (54%), hanging out with friends (44%), going to a movie (41%), and enjoying a “day out” (41%).
Respondents even say they miss the service industry workers they regularly interacted with before quarantine. The average American says they miss five people they became friendly with on their trips to the store. Most of these employees are grocery store workers (39%), coffee shop baristas (33%), or waiters and waitresses (28%).
Beyond chatting with old pals, two-thirds of respondents (69%) also miss window shopping and browsing stores for fun. Four in five don’t browse in stores at all since the start of COVID-19 and complete their trips as quickly as possible.
Has shopping changed forever?
Two-thirds (67%) of Americans believe shopping can’t return to the way it was until there is a vaccine for the virus. Regardless of when COVID restrictions end, many believe shopping has already been dramatically changed. Sixty-eight percent think the days of touching and testing products in-store is over as consumers shift to buying more things online.
When it comes to shopping habits that would cause respondents to hesitate nowadays, trying on an item in a changing room topped the list with 45 percent saying that’s a no-go in 2020. Two in five people (42%) won’t try food samples anymore and over a third (36%) won’t touch produce for freshness before purchasing.
As respondents approach the cashier, they’ve continued to adapt to the pandemic. More than half (58%) of all consumers think “if you touch it, you buy it” is the new “you break it, you buy it.” Three in five (63%) are more likely to use their credit card more often than cash when it comes to their weekly spending since the rise of COVID-19.
Staying germ-free at checkout
Fifty-three percent of respondents view contactless credit cards as a safe payment method to avoid germs, followed by using a mobile wallet (42%), and swiping their credit card (42%). While contactless credit and debit cards came out as the number one germ-free payment method, the technology still confuses some. A quarter (25%) find the machines confusing and don’t know where to tap their cards on certain terminals. One in four people also have concerns about the security of contactless credit cards.
Nearly six in 10 Americans (58%) want to go completely cashless in order to cut down on germs, even though it’s caused a struggle (49%). Three in five (61%) believe they’ve spent more online during the pandemic than they did in pre-COVID times.
“Despite perceptions, transactions in contactless credit cards are just as secure as chip credit cards since they use the same technology. Contactless credit cards feature innovative payment technology to help protect cardholders from fraud so they can feel confident their information is safe,” says Ian Forrester, Senior Vice President, US Card at Capital One, in a statement. “Also with contactless cards, you can check out in seconds by tapping or hovering your card on the credit card reader. Contactless cards, like the Platinum Mastercard from Capital One, are accepted at thousands of stores, including grocery stores, gas stations and restaurants.”
People will try anything to make a trip to the store easier
It’s no surprise then that three-quarters of respondents want more tools to help them find the best deals for online shopping so they’re spending smarter. Fifty-eight percent said they’d be willing to explore digital payment alternatives if they understood them better.
“The survey data indicates that respondents have undergone dramatic changes in their shopping habits during the pandemic. In fact, nearly half of the survey respondents (48%) are more likely to let the cashier ‘keep the change’ due to COVID-19,” Forrester explains. “With this in mind, Capital One is meeting customers where they are by investing and building innovative products that look out for customers and their money while speeding up checkout with simple and safe ways to pay.”