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Consumers Report Renewed Optimism that a Return to Normal is Near

3 MINUTE READ | March 2, 2021

Consumers Report Renewed Optimism that a Return to Normal is Near

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Abby Long

Abby is PMG’s senior managing editor, where she leads the company’s editorial program and manages the PMG Blog and Insights Hub. As a writer, editor, and marketing communications strategist with nearly a decade of experience, Abby's work in showcasing PMG’s unique expertise through POVs, research reports, and thought leadership regularly informs business strategy and media investments for some of the most iconic brands in the world. Named among the AAF Dallas 32 Under 32, her expertise in advertising, media strategy, and consumer trends has been featured in Ad Age, Business Insider, and Digiday.

Across the country, the first signs of an eventual return to normal are emerging. In recent days: 

  • Apple brick-and-mortar stores, a once-prominent private sector barometer for determining local community spread, are all back open, the first time since spring of 2020 when the pandemic began. 

  • The Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine became the third available in the U.S., with the company expected to ship 20 million doses by the end of the month.

  • Axios reported that most public schools that went virtual this fall are now open for in-person classes amid new safety guidelines. 

While health officials warn that it’s “too soon” to roll back COVID restrictions, one can’t help but notice an optimistic shift in media coverage, economic outlooks and perspectives, consumer behavior and trends. Morning Consult reported that “almost half of consumers are comfortable at malls,” beginning an upward trend for retail in America. A new Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index found that nearly half (48 percent) of Americans are feeling hopeful about a return to normal, a shift from last year’s overwhelming “stressed” or “frustrated” responses. According to the Index, most Americans (65 percent) estimate that it will take at least six months to start getting back to normal. Today, over 50 million Americans have received at least a single dose of the coronavirus vaccine — about 23 percent of the population over 18 years of age. 

Related: Warner Bros’ “Tom & Jerry” debuted in theaters, ending the opening weekend better than expected, with $13.7 million in ticket sales despite just 42 percent of theaters being open, the best domestic opening year to date.

On Friday, the Commerce Department reported consumer spending rose 2.4 percent in January, the most significant increase in seven months. The report also showed that personal incomes rose ten percent last month, the biggest gain in nine months. In response to optimistic news related to vaccines and an economic resurgence, on Monday, “all 11 S&P sectors finished in the green, and the S&P 500 posted its best day since June 5. Both the Dow and the Nasdaq clinched their best trading day since November,” as reported by CNBC.

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Recent earnings reports confirm that many brands, particularly those related to home goods and improvement, streaming and entertainment, or the social internet, are poised for growth and a promising Q2 2021. For everyday Americans, the U.S. Senate is drawing closer to the final form of the $1.9 trillion relief package, known as the ‘American Rescue Plan,’ with a vote expected any day now.

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