Anxiety and health concerns may be starting to ease for consumers, but levels of financial worries still remain high, which will affect the automotive market in particular.
Deloitte’s latest Global State of the Consumer Tracker shows significant shifts in sentiment and spending intentions since the COVID-19 peak in April.
Self-isolation measures have taken consumers out of the auto retail market for an extended period of time. Financial concerns may shape the way and extent to which people will eventually reengage with the automotive sector, and lingering health concerns will also play a pivotal role in the choice between vehicle ownership and alternative transportation modes going forward.
Financial concerns are not subsiding, with 27% of consumers concerned about making upcoming payments and 43% delaying large purchases. Nearly half (49%) of U.S. vehicle owners plan to keep their current car longer than they originally expected, and 27% of current owners are delaying regular maintenance for their vehicles.
Less than half of U.S. consumers (48%) are concerned about their personal health, down from 57% measured during the peak in early April. However, people are concerned enough to second-guess their use of public transit (60%) and ride-hailing services (57%) over the next three months.
Immediate financial concerns continue to spike among millennials, with 36% of 18- to 35-year-olds concerned about making upcoming car payments. Fear of job loss remains steady, with 37% of U.S. consumers concerned about losing their job.
More U.S. consumers (42%) feel safe going to the store, up significantly from 30% in April. The number of consumers who intend to predominantly purchase online is gradually falling, particularly in restaurants, but is also observable in categories like apparel and electronics. For example, in early April nearly half (47%) of U.S. consumers were predominantly planning to transact with restaurants digitally in the upcoming month, but that number has recently dropped to 39%.
Across the globe, 52% of consumers indicate they will stick with the brand names they trust. In fact, consumers who are more concerned about their family’s health are more likely to purchase name brands that were struggling prior to the crisis. Interestingly, 42% of consumers report they will purchase more from brands that have responded well to the crisis.
Signs of optimism are emerging for travel brands. Nearly one-third of U.S. consumers (31%) plan to stay in a hotel for leisure travel within the next three months, up from a low of 24% in mid-April.
Now in its third wave (fielded May 12-16), the “Deloitte Global State of the Consumer Tracker,” conducted in 15 countries, queried 1,000 consumers in each country — with insights available on an interactive dashboard.