Young people with face masks back at work in office after lockdown, greeting.

A June 2021 survey of 1,000 individuals conducted by GP PRO, a division of Georgia-Pacific, found that 48 percent of respondents increased their participation in away-from-home activities in the previous 60 days. Of that group, 32 percent listed the efforts businesses have taken to provide a safe and hygienic environment as one reason they are confident leaving home. 

“This last year was incredibly trying, and the uncertainty of what was next took a significant toll on the overall American psyche,” says Michelle Auda, senior director of insights with GP PRO. “But consumers are now taking to the streets with renewed confidence, and businesses deserve credit for making health and hygiene a priority and, as a result, playing a role in consumers re-engaging in the everyday activities they avoided for the better part of the past year.”

Auda pointed out that while 48 percent of respondents increased their activity in the last 60 days, 61 percent said they are currently participating in away-from-home activities at the same level as they were before the pandemic, with 31 percent only taking virus-related safety precautions if required, and 30 percent taking such precautions whether required or not. 

When asked which away-from-home activities they are participating in, 74 percent of those surveyed said in-store grocery shopping, 61 percent said going to a drive-thru restaurant or coffee shop, 56 percent stated in-store retail shopping, 50 percent said socializing with close friends and family, and rounding out the top five activities, 46 percent said indoor dining at a restaurant. Just 38 percent of survey respondents said they have gone to work in an office environment in the previous 60 days.

The findings from this most recent GP PRO consumer mindset survey are vastly different from those revealed in a similar survey GP PRO conducted five months earlier in February of 2021. At that time, only 9 percent of consumers were participating in pre-COVID away-from-home activities with no safety precautions, and 19 percent were engaging in such activities with precautions. As for those staying home, the February survey found that 15 percent of consumers avoided activities such as shopping, going to a salon, or socializing with friends and family; that number dropped to 7 percent in the June survey.

“We are hopeful this current state of renewed consumer confidence will continue to grow and help bolster a robust economic and social recovery," says Auda. "At the same time, we encourage businesses and individuals to continue to demonstrate a commitment to health and safety, particularly as the threat of new coronavirus variants remains and the cold and flu season approaches.”