Americans are still putting off healthcare procedures

In less than five minutes of reading time we’ll give you all the data and context you need to get you up to speed on Ipsos’ latest wave of the Coronavirus Consumer Tracker.

The author(s)
  • Matt Carmichael What the Future editor and head of the Ipsos Trends & Foresight Lab
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See the full data and methodology

Here’s what we know today from the Ipsos Coronavirus Consumer Tracker

  • The IPAC, Ipsos’ measure of how consumers are dealing with the pandemic, took a tilt toward “improving” in W65.
  • One in six people who wear masks sometimes report being told to take a mask off when wearing one. But one in four have also told someone to put on a mask if they weren’t wearing one. One in three non-maskers have been denied entry somewhere. 
  • In the past year, as many say they conferred with their doctors via telemedicine (24%) as went to an urgent care clinic (26%).

Read on for data about: Inflation-postponed medical procedures, charitable giving, affordable housing and more. 

Sales associates playing a growing role?

Health resolutions 

Why we asked: There is both a trend towards wellness and epidemics of obesity, diabetes and other conditions. Coming out of an added level of health threat with a pandemic, what do we plan to change, if anything? 

What we found: Half of us plan to eat better (51%) and exercise more (49%). I’m tempted to say that 18% are more realistic by saying nothing will change. But perhaps encouraging the 32% who say they will be more proactive with health and doctor’s visits would be within the realm of possibilities for brands and providers.

What are we putting off? 

Why we asked: We asked this again with some slightly different options for two reasons: One, we keep trying to understand the impacts of inflation, and two, we forgot to ask something important before. We asked about ourselves and our health, but not…

What we found: PETS. 17% say they have put off pet care which is… lower than the number of people who have put off care for their own health (24% had put off a physical or check-up, 28% a dental cleaning) in W63. Granted not everyone has a pet, but still… Priorities.

Covid booster likelihood bodes… poorly 

Why we asked: There’s some mildly-not-great news on variants in Europe and Winter is Coming. Where are we with COVID thinking today?

What we found: The number of folks who say they are likely to get the latest omicron-targeted booster dropped significantly over the last month from 63% to 46%, and not because many seem to have already gotten it. That’s pretty flat. Meanwhile, mask-wearing continues to decline: Fewer than one in four say they mask indoors always or often. So perhaps it stands to reason that two thirds (64%) think there will be a spike this winter in their states. But if there is a spike, 66% say they will socially distance, and sizeable numbers say they will cut back on gatherings and even errands. And in terms of public health measures, a (slim) majority would back mask requirements in public transportation (57%) and rideshares (52%) and even schools (52%) and businesses and stores (55%). Support is much lower for vaccine requirements or outdoor masking. Only one in four would support no new restrictions of the options we asked about. This is not the greatest combination of stats for avoiding another wave. But at least our baseline cases are only half what they were at this time last year. 

We are pretty confident a new surge is coming

We are less comfortable with our finances than last year 

Why we asked: A year ago, we asked a series of questions about economic situations. Headed into 2023 and a plausible recession, it seemed like a good time to take a year-over-year look at the consumer.

What we found: Overall, we are less comfortable with our personal financial situation (36%) than we were one year ago (42%). That plays out across the board in the detailed follow-up. We are less confident in investing in the market, taking out a loan, buying a new home, and everything else we asked about – except sending our kids to school in person. All the financial confidence measures are down. 

We are less comfortable with our financesWe are less confident in purchases and saving

People seem to be cutting back on nice-to-haves for their need-to-haves 

Why we asked: With inflation and interest rates continuing at high levels, are we trimming budgets? If so, where? 

What we found: For the most part, people are spending less across a wide range of categories, from travel and gifts to charity to food and grocery delivery. On the flip side, more people are spending at a higher rate on groceries and gas than are cutting back on those things. In almost all cases, however, a plurality say they are spending the same as three months ago. 

The needs seem to be causing cutbacks on the wants

One in three have started their holiday shopping 

Why we asked: In our third year of tracking endemic holiday shopping…. Yeah. That. 

What we found: More than a third (36%) now say they have started shopping. That tracks pretty nicely with the folks who in September said they had already started or would in October. So we seem to be doing what we say we will. Although a growing percentage (now 17%) now say they will hold off until December.

How will we spend (or not) these holidays

What are our holiday shopping plans? 

Why we asked: So, we’re going shopping. What are we going to do with that? 

What we found: Only 24% plan to spend more on gifts this year than last season. 47% plan to shop more online. But more striking, 50% plan to buy gifts for fewer people, and one in three plan to cancel their typical holiday travel plans. 

Speaking of which, what are our Thanksgiving travel plans? 

Why we asked: It’s time to watch the clip of the West Wing’s President Bartlett calling the Butterball hotline again. “I’m not saying this is a dealbreaker…” In other words, Turkey Day is upon us.

What we found: One in five plan to travel locally for celebration. Another 12% will take a road trip. One in four (24%) will celebrate at home with members of their household. Hopefully they will all cook their turkey to a safe temperature. Really. Go watch that clip. You’ll learn and laugh. And when we celebrate, one in three expect people to get tested for COVID beforehand, half expect people to be vaccinated and 41% say that talking about COVID vaccination beliefs will lead to a side dish of family strife with their celebration. That’s down a couple points from last year at this time. Keep it simple, America. Lions vs. Bills, folks. Democrats are much more likely (49%) than Republicans (32%) to agree with the COVID fighting question. Not sure what that means… But note, this wave was intentionally fielded after the midterms. 

Our Thanksgiving plans look really normal this year

IPAC

For complete toplines for all waves, please see the full data and methodology. 

 

The author(s)
  • Matt Carmichael What the Future editor and head of the Ipsos Trends & Foresight Lab

Society