first activities after quarantine

Survey: The First Thing People Are Going To Do After Quarantine

We surveyed American consumers on the first activities they are most looking forward-to after quarantine restrictions are lifted.

Editor’s Note: This marks the 5th wave of our Coronavirus Lifestyle Changes Surveys but its a departure from our approach on the previous 4 trackers.  In this edition, we surveyed American consumers on the first activities they are most looking forward-to after the quarantine restrictions are lifted.

Top 3: Dining, Shopping, Getting A Haircut

With states “opening up,” consumers are envisioning activities for the time social-distancing rules get lifted. “I’ve been telling friends that after 3 months of social-distancing,“ said Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys, “The first thing I want is to sit at a restaurant table and have someone serve me a turkey club and fries.”

Apparently, a singular majority of coronavirus captives agree. Sixty-two percent (62%) of respondents indicated the first thing they’ll do is eat in a restaurant. This was the top craving identified in the 5th wave of the Consumer Coronavirus Behavior research conducted by TheCustomer, Brand Keys, the New York-based brand loyalty and customer engagement consultancy, and Suzy the on-demand research software platform.

“It’s both a social release and a domestic relief from having to make your own meals or ordering in,” noted Mike Giambattista, publisher of TheCustomer, the weekly newsletter covering intelligence from the customer insight universe. ”Three months ago, cooking and baking were both a novelty and a necessity. Now they’ve become a chore. People are reminiscing about eating out, which is great news for the restaurant industry.” Next to the Federal government, restaurants are the second-largest employer in the United States.

After A Meal, Shopping and The Beauty Salon

After a meal out, 58% of the sample expressed a desire to visit a barber shop or beauty salon, with an equal number of respondents wanting to go shopping. While beauty salons and barbers were not considered “essential services,” consumers have come to realize how much they rely on salons and barbershops for self-care and self-image. “There’s been an enormous jump in DIY haircut videos on the Internet,” said Passikoff. “And an equal number of posts with people sharing some truly awful amateur home-cuts.” As to shopping, with virtually every closed down, consumers just want to go somewhere that’s not a pharmacy or grocery store.

What Consumers Are Twice As Likely To Do

“The trade-offs are interesting,” said Giambattista. “Although some are self-evident, given the circumstances, they are completely comprehensible.” Consumers are twice as likely to do the following:

  • Eat at a restaurant (62%) versus Participating in outdoor sports or recreational activities (31%)
  • Visit a barber or beauty salon (58%) versus Working out at a gym (29%)
  • Go shopping (58%) versus Having drinks or cocktails at a bar (30%)
  • Travel domestically (35%) versus Travel internationally (18%)
  • Get together with friends (56%) versus Going to a live performance or concert (24%)


first thing after quarantine


Americans Show An Affinity For Working From Home

“While eating out at a restaurant is the most hungered for activity,” said Giambattista, “We thought it was interesting that after having had to shelter-in, only 35% of the respondents wanted to go back to work.” Interesting, but not surprising. Nearly 60% of currently-employed Americans indicated that they have worked from home during the coronavirus crisis and nearly half of them (29%) indicated they would prefer to continue to work remotely.

When Will Social Distancing Rules Be Lifted?

As states begin to allow nonessential businesses such as restaurants, beauty salons, and beaches to open up, many Americans (82%) indicated they will cautiously emerge from their homes after weeks of COVID-19-imposed isolation. With cases beginning to level off in some areas, states are looking to jump-start their economies. Governors have taken vastly different approaches to re-opening up their states and removing social-distancing restrictions. And with unemployment on the rise, Americans are looking to get back to work. “But first,” noted Passikoff, “They’re going out to eat.”


The survey and analysis were conducted the week of May 3, 2020. This week’s Wave Six findings are based on 1,000 total responses from a U.S. panel population, ages 17-70 with a 50/50 gender split. The survey is being conducted on a weekly basis.

About Brand Keys

Brand Keys specializes in customer loyalty and engagement research, providing brand equity metrics that accurately predict future, in-market consumer behavior that correlates with sales and profitability.

About Suzy

Suzy helps you make better, faster, more data-driven decisions. Their platform combines advanced research tools with the highest quality audience to deliver trusted insights in minutes.

Photo by Szabo Viktor on Unsplash

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