Will vaccine reluctant Americans slow the retail comeback from COVID-19?
Getting back to some semblance of pre-pandemic normalcy in the U.S. is entirely dependent on the nation’s ability to get a handle on the coronavirus. Medical professionals and public policy experts have been pointing to individual and business safety measures as a means to tamp down the spread of the virus, but achieving herd immunity is the only currently viable path to that happening.
In order for the nation to reach herd immunity without the death toll stretching into the millions, the vast majority of the population will need to get vaccinated. The reality on the ground is that a large percentage of Americans, for a variety of reasons, are either reluctant, unwilling or, in a small percentage of cases, unable to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
An online poll of 5,537 Americans taken last month by Invisibly found that 47 percent were unlikely or very unlikely to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The biggest factor in the choice to be vaccinated or not was trustworthiness. Eighty percent who thought of the immunization as very untrustworthy were very unlikely to receive the vaccine.
Results from a CNN poll released last week paint a slightly more promising picture. Sixty-six percent of people it surveyed are now planning to get immunized as more pharmaceutical companies introduce vaccines. The most recent number is an improvement over the results from a previous poll that found only 51 percent were planning to get vaccinated.
Another survey from First Insight released yesterday finds that about a third of Americans are unsure as to whether they will be vaccinated or not, but that even with vaccines many people are not planning to suddenly go flocking to stores.
Forty-five percent of beauty product shoppers said they would either go to stores less or the same after being vaccinated. The same holds true for 44 percent looking to buy footwear, 43 percent of consumer electronics purchasers and 40 percent shopping for apparel.
If the vaccine does not prove to be the medicine that retailers are counting on to help them bring their businesses back, there is clearly more pain ahead for the industry. CNBC reports that Coresight Research is forecasting that up to 10,000 stores will be closed this year.
“The rollout of vaccination programs should result in a partial recovery in store-based sales,” Coresight CEO Deborah Weinswig said. “However, these programs may take many months to reach a wide base of consumers.”
- Covid Vaccine Canvas – Invisibly
- CNN Poll: Americans’ willingness to get the coronavirus vaccine is on the rise – CNN
- A Third of Americans Not Comfortable Getting Vaccinated – First Insight
- 10,000 stores are expected to close in 2021, as pandemic continues to pummel retailers – CNBC
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you think currently reluctant Americans will get a COVID-19 vaccine when it is made available or will they continue to hold out, keeping the nation from reaching herd immunity? Are retailers prepared for a future in which the virus may remain a year-round fact of life because herd immunity is not reached?