While South Africans flocked to shopping malls as clothing and footwear stores re-opened this past weekend, an American survey shows that not all will feel safe to venture into stores. Around half of US consumers feel comfortable to return to stores, with men more than women, a survey by First Insight, a retail predictive analytics company, shows.

There is good news for independents, however. Several of the US respondents feel that it’s fine to visit their local independent stores: 47% of men and 39% of women indicated they were either safe or very safe to visit. “Over 40% of respondents of all generations say they will feel safe shopping at smaller, local stores, with millennials the highest at 46%,” says Greg Petro, CEO of First Insight. “Men report feeling safer than women shopping in local stores, making them a logical target for marketing and promotions as stores reopen.”

A slightly lower percentage of respondents are happy to visit malls and larger stores: 33% feel that visiting malls is safe and 37% feel fine to go to department stores.

In South Africa, the majority (60%) of respondents are either very concerned or extremely concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on their health, a survey by Stats SA shows. Additionally, 93% are very or extremely concerned about the possible economic collapse of the country and more than three quarters of respondents are worried about possible civil disorder resulting from the COVID-19 impact.

Overall, South Africans are aware of the main signs and symptoms of the virus. Most (64%) get their information from news outlets and social media is the second most used platform, respondents indicated.

The survey was conducted 13-26 April and received just under 4 000 responses.