Consumers' Retail Fears Aren't Fading

Abby Kleckler
Senior Digital & Tech Editor
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Consumers' Retail Fears Aren't Fading

More and more retailers large and small are requiring customers to wear masks, but new research from First Insight finds that fears of shopping aren't going away. A huge 80% of women feel unsafe trying out beauty products, 68% feel unsafe trying on apparel in dressing rooms and 61% feel unsafe trying on shoes. This represents an uptick compared to the company's first study in April. 

From a generational standpoint, baby boomers feel the least safe returning to stores with 73% saying they don't feel safe trying on clothes in dressing rooms, up 2% since April.

Shopping malls, warehouse clubs and big box retailers may have more of an uphill battle with 32% feeling unsafe visiting shopping malls, 20% with warehouse clubs and 18% with big box retail.

The only retailers where people appear to be getting more comfortable since April are essential retailers and local small businesses. Only 11% feel unsafe at grocery stores, versus 13% in April, and the figure for drug stores hovers around 15%. For small businesses, the figure dropped from 21% to 17% in the past three months.

"Retailers need to be aware that while people are shopping and there is definitely pent-up demand, many consumers are still very much afraid to be in-store and to try products or use dressing rooms," said Greg Petro, CEO of First Insight. "As stores continue to operate during the pandemic, it is critical that retailers communicate with their customers, understand expectations when it comes to safety, and simultaneously offer the products they need. Those that do will have the greatest chance of success in this difficult environment."

As for how much a face mask police eases fears, 84% said it makes them feel most safe while temperature checks at the door are important to 71% of consumers.