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Survey finds pandemic-related behavioral changes may last

Staff Report //April 24, 2020//

Survey finds pandemic-related behavioral changes may last

Staff Report //April 24, 2020//

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Nearly three-fourths of respondents to a survey conducted by marketing agency Chernoff Newman are concerned about being exposed to the new coronavirus, while one in five say the pandemic has put them into “meltdown” mode.

The survey was conducted by phone April 13 through 20 and had a sample size of 500 and a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points, according to a news release from the agency.

“The results reveal how South Carolinians have modified their behaviors in the short term, but also how some of these behaviors might continue in the mid to longer term and the implications these changes may have on key industries and the broader economy,” Fenton Overdyke, director of research for Chernoff Newman, said in a news release.

Most of the respondents said it would take until the end of the summer for things to return to normal, and 73% worried about coming into contact with the coronavirus. In addition, 60% were worried about their finances.

More than half of households reported changes in work environment, such as working at home or having a household member furloughed or laid off. However, 91% of respondents felt their jobs would be there when the pandemic ends.

The survey indicated that some behavioral changes may be long-lasting. While 92% of consumers wanted to go out to eat, 67% planned to cook more at home, and 41% planned to order take-out once the COVID-19 crisis subsides. And while 67% missed going to movie theaters, 56% were more likely to stream movies at home.

Respondents relied on local television news and major news networks for pandemic updates, and 45% felt the news they consumed was “fairly accurate.” Thirty-one percent said the coronavirus was not being taken seriously enough, and 18% felt its threat was being exaggerated.

Most respondents (84%) expressed confidence in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 70% felt confident in state health departments and 61% were confident in the World Health Organization.

Two-thirds (65%) said they had already canceled or postponed travel plans, and 51% worried about current grocery availability. More than three-fourths (79%) were satisfied with overall communication from children’s schools and 76% with the quality of online educational instruction.