Executive leaders deciding whether and how to allow entry to retail outlets, transport, offices and facilities should consider the layers of mistrust underlying a fragmented buying public. Findings from our latest U.S. consumer survey echo in our analysis of global social media posts.
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Executive leaders whose organizations depend on rebounding in-person activity — by customers or by employees — should take note of tensions over vaccination status. You’ll need to factor these splits into consideration of whether, or how, to require proof of full COVID-19 protection for entry to retail outlets, facilities, transportation and offices. A lack of trust emerges from the findings of both our June U.S. consumer survey and our analysis of global social media posts over the past six months. And attitudes among different segments of the public for different types of settings vary widely.
Of U.S. consumers surveyed…
Nineteen percent said that they are not planning to get a vaccine.
Sixty-four percent of surveyed consumers don’t believe that unvaccinated people will always follow the rules on their own and keep wearing face masks.
The strongest backing for showing proof of vaccines comes from:
Self-identified political liberals (69%)
Parents with no children at home (68%) — compared with 52% for parents whose children live with them
Households with incomes above $100,000 (62%) — see Figure 2
Overall, there are no notable differences between older and younger consumers.
Travel, healthcare and schools — a higher percentage favors vaccination requirements for these three settings than for activities such as office visits or sports and fitness (see Figure 3).
While more than seven in 10 (71%) agree that the primary purpose of vaccine verification is to keep people safe, nearly three in 10 see a demand for proof as a move to exert control (see Figure 4).
Despite these divisions, almost half (49%) of consumers think it’s time to move on from discussions about the role of masks and social distancing...about one-quarter (26%) want those debates to continue.
Six in 10 (62%) would prefer showing a vaccine card or a paper printout. Just over one-third (34%) are comfortable with a digital record from a healthcare provider and one-third told us the same about a state-sponsored digital code on an app (33%). Eighteen percent would be fine with a fingerprint scan.
Globally, the volume of social media conversations using the term “vaccine certificates” has risen almost tenfold since December 2020 (see Figure 6).
This timetable of trending posts shows an evolution from concerns over government tracking early in the year to confusion about different forms of verification.
Anxiety over needing vaccine certificates to access leisure, hospitality, retail and employment activities.
Reduced trust in healthcare with the introduction of vaccine certificates.
Confusion over different certificates from different countries, leading to calls for a unified system
Concerns are raised over data security with vaccine certificates and forged ones.
Consumer and Culture
Social Media Analysis
Compiled by Daniel Ryntjes,Theresa Peterson and Fahim Talmeez
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Recommended by the Authors
Gartner Consumer Community, 17-24 June 2021, n=346 The Gartner Consumer Community is a consumer panel of about 450 members roughly resembling the U.S. general population. Panel members took the survey voluntarily. The results should not be interpreted as being more widely applicable and should only be used for directional insights.
Gartner Consumer Community, 10-17 June 2021, n=327
Respondents within the Gartner Consumer Community identified their position on the socio-political spectrum. Around half of conservatives support the use of vaccine verification for entry into businesses or venues, but the sample size was not sufficient to report as a percentage.
Social media analysis (SMA) methodology: Gartner conducts social listening analysis leveraging third party data tools to complement or supplement the other fact bases presented in this document. Due to its qualitative and organic nature, the results should not be used separately from the rest of this research. No conclusions should be drawn from this data alone. Social Media data in reference is from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021 in all geographies (except China) and recognized languages.