Consumers are eager to resume life as they knew it before COVID-19, according to a new report released by Vericast. This desire is tempered with some reservation as many choose to exercise caution in their financial decisions and social lives.

The “2021 Consumer Intel Report” was conducted in early 2021 and surveyed U.S. consumers 18 and older. The results reveal that many consumers have become very comfortable spending more time at home. The desire and intent to cook at home has risen, with 43% of all consumers saying they plan to cook dinner more often in the next six months.

There is a general feeling of caution when it comes to resuming normal activities, including dining out. Many respondents had reservations about dining inside, and 63% said they are more comfortable ordering carryout or delivery. The same sense of caution applies to indoor shopping. Slightly over half (52%) of vaccinated respondents said they were comfortable shopping indoors.

When deciding where to shop, familiarity and trust are high on the list of priorities. The majority of respondents (76%) are more likely to buy from a brand or store they trust, and 67% prefer a brand or store that provides a consistent experience. Most consumers (54%) are also more apt to be loyal to a brand or store that is environmentally responsible or has ethical/sustainable business practices. This percentage is up from 48% in 2019.

Cost remains a big factor. The majority (82%) of respondents indicated the most important thing when shopping for grocery products is to save the most money by going to a store with the lowest prices. Price consciousness has increased across the economic spectrum, and ads and coupons remain popular.

While in-person shopping will likely pick up, online shopping has become the norm for many. Over half (64%) of people who say they are online grocery shoppers currently do most of their buying online. This has fallen from 67% in 2020, but it’s still up from 58% in 2019. Almost one in five (18%) continue to do all of their shopping online, down from 29% last year.

Marketers can harness the desire to resume normal life and activities by engaging with consumers while noting their caution and reservations. Positive messaging about moving forward with life, addressing concerns about health and safety while resuming indoor activities, showing a social conscience that is authentic, and building a safe and rewarding in-store experience are all meaningful steps businesses can take to thrive in this emerging social and economic environment.

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