Study explores how shopping has changed in 2020

Two-thirds of Americans believe shopping can't return to the way it was until there is a vaccine for COVID-19, according to new research.

The survey of 2,000 Americans found 67% believe shopping will be altered until there's a vaccine available — and it shows, as the way people shop has taken a dramatic shift.

Sixty-eight percent think the days of touching, trying and testing products in-store are over as they're driven to buy more online.

Conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by Capital One, the survey delved into respondents' shopping habits, and it looked at how those have changed over the course of 2020.

When it came to shopping habits that would cause respondents to hesitate nowadays, trying on an item in a changing room topped the list with 45%.

Two in five (42%) wouldn't try food samples anymore and over a third (36%) wouldn't touch produce for freshness before purchasing.

As respondents approach the cashier, they've continued to adapt to the pandemic. More than half (58%) of all consumers think "if you touch it, you buy it" is the new "you break it, you buy it."

These changing shopping habits have people missing their lives, pre-pandemic: two-thirds of respondents (69%) miss window shopping and browsing stores for fun.

Four in five don't browse in stores at all since the start of COVID-19, and they now complete their trip as quickly as possible.

That's not the only thing they miss, and results found top activities people miss include dining out at a restaurant (54%), hanging out with friends (44%), going to a movie (41%) and enjoying a "day out" (41%).

Those surveyed also miss an average of five people they were on friendly terms with who they used to see throughout their week, like grocery store workers (39%), coffee shop baristas (33%) and waiters and waitresses (28%).

But respondents are adapting to life amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and one thing they're changing is the way they pay.

Three in five (63%) are more likely to use their credit card more often than cash when it comes to their weekly spending since the rise of COVID-19.

Fifty-three percent of respondents think contactless credit cards as a safe payment method to avoid germs, followed by using a mobile wallet feature (42%) and swiping their credit card (42%).

While contactless credit/debit cards came out as the number one payment method respondents thought was safe against germs, some are still confused by it.

A quarter (25%) have found the machines confusing and don't know where on different machines to tap their card.

Twenty-five percent also revealed their concerns about the security of contactless credit cards.

"Despite perceptions, transactions in contactless credit cards are just as secure as chip credit cards since they use the same technology. Contactless credit cards feature innovative payment technology to help protect cardholders from fraud so they can feel confident their information is safe," said Ian Forrester, Senior Vice President, US Card at Capital One.

"Also with contactless cards, you can check out in seconds by tapping or hovering your card on the credit card reader. Contactless cards, like the Platinum Mastercard from Capital One, are accepted at thousands of stores, including grocery stores, gas stations and restaurants."

Fifty-eight percent want to go completely cashless in order to cut down on germs, even though it's caused a struggle (49%).

Three in five (61%) estimated they've spent more online shopping during the pandemic than they would have in pre-COVID-19 time.

It's no surprise then that three-quarters of respondents want more tools to help them find the best deals for online shopping so they're spending smarter.

Fifty-eight percent (58%) said they'd be willing to explore digital payment alternatives if they understood them better.

"The survey data indicates that respondents have undergone dramatic changes in their shopping habits during the pandemic," said Forrester. "In fact, nearly half of the survey respondents (48%) are more likely to let the cashier 'keep the change' due to COVID-19."  

Dining in restaurants 54%
Browsing through a store 49%
Spending time with friends   48%
Shopping for fun at the mall 42%
Going to the movies 41%
Having a "day out" 41%
Taking destination vacations 40%
Spending time with family 37%
Going to concerts 34%
Going to bars 26%

Contactless credit/debit card 53%
Mobile wallet 43%
Card swiping 42%
Chip reader 41%
Cash card 32%
Gift card 27%
Cash 16%
Writing a check 15%