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The Pulse: Looking Ahead and Super Bowl Highlights

The Pulse of the American Consumer is focused on continued insight into consumer sentiments for businesses across all industries.


We asked American adults about their sentiments on their current and future personal states, as well as where they think the U.S. will be in terms of COVID-19 and the economy. We also pulled together commercial insights from Sunday’s Super Bowl broadcast. In order for businesses to have the most success connecting with their consumers, they have to understand them – what they are interested in, what they need, and how they feel.

At ENGINE, we have the real-time pulse of the consumer, today, and always. Throughout 2021, we will be offering weekly insights through identifying important data points and trends from the voice of the consumer.


KEY FINDINGS AS OF February 7, 2021:

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If you would like more information on ENGINE CARAVAN surveys, contact us below:

At ENGINE, we will be keeping up with the pulse of the consumer throughout 2021, and are regularly running our CARAVAN surveys on current social issues. Contact us at caravaninfo@enginegroup.com for more information or for the full CARAVAN survey findings.

This Online CARAVAN® omnibus surveys were conducted on January 8-10, January 15-17, January 22-24, January 29-31, and February 5-7, 2021.  Approximately 1,000 adults selected from opt-in panels were surveyed. The results are also weighted to U.S. Census data to be demographically representative.

Written by the CARAVAN team at ENGINE Insights.

The Pulse of the American Consumer

Current Events:

How closely have you followed these news events of the PAST WEEK?

  • The latest updates regarding COVID-19 vaccines
    • Total Followed Closely: 70% (-1% change)
    • Very Closely: 35% (-1% change)
  • The latest developments concerning COVID-19 infections and deaths in the United States
    • Total Followed Closely: 66% (-2% change)
    • Very Closely: 34% (+2% change)
  • The updates related to the second impeachment trial of President Trump
    • Total Followed Closely: 53% (-1% change)
    • Very Closely: 25% (no change)
  • The series of executive orders signed by President Biden during his first days in office
    • Total Followed Closely: 62% (no change)
    • Very Closely: 28% (-1% change)
  • Reports of Coronavirus ‘variants’ being discovered among patients in the United States
    • Total Followed Closely: 62% (-4% change)
    • Very Closely: 28% (-4% change)
  • The beginning of Black History Month (new)
    • Total Followed Closely: 40%
    • Very Closely: 17%
  • News related to the Super Bowl (new)
    • Total Followed Closely: 38%
    • Very Closely: 15%
  • The situations within the Republican party involving Representatives Liz Cheney and Marjorie Taylor Greene (new)
    • Total Followed Closely: 46%
    • Very Closely: 19%

How concerned are you currently about these issues?

  • The continuing impact of disinformation and fake news on society
    • Total Concerned: 77% (-3% change)
    • Very Concerned: 44% (-3% change)
  • Contracting the Coronavirus
    • Total Concerned: 70% (-1% change)
    • Very Concerned: 34% (-5% change)
  • Your household’s finances being negatively impacted as a result of the ongoing pandemic
    • Total Concerned: 69% (+2% change)
    • Very Concerned: 33% (-1% change)
  • The amount of time you need to wait to receive the COVID-19 vaccine
    • Total Concerned: 60% (+1% change)
    • Very Concerned: 28% (+1% change)
  • Your general lifestyle being disrupted by new policy decisions made by the Biden/Harris administration
    • Total Concerned: 57% (+3% change)
    • Very Concerned: 29% (-1% change)
  • Your mental wellbeing due to the Coronavirus
    • Total Concerned: 59% (+2% change)
    • Very Concerned: 25% (+4% change)
  • The mental wellbeing of your family due to the Coronavirus
    • Total Concerned: 65% (-1% change)
    • Very Concerned: 31% (+1% change)
  • Shortages of the COVID-19 vaccine
    • Total Concerned: 66% (+2% change)
    • Very Concerned: 33% (+2% change)
  • Future threats of violent events in the U.S. caused by domestic terrorists (new)
    • Total Concerned: 75% (-4% change)
    • Very Concerned: 38% (-3% change)
  • The $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill that is currently being debated in Congress (new)
    • Total Concerned: 72%
    • Very Concerned: 36%


COVID-19 & The Vaccine

  • 29% of American adults have already received or are currently registered on a waiting list to receive the COVID-19 vaccine
  • 27% have not received it yet but will as soon as its available to them
  • 22% will likely get the vaccine eventually but prefer to wait until more evidence of safety and effectiveness is available
  • 23% do not plan to receive it at all


Some medical experts are now recommending that people consider double-masking to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

  • 55% of respondents are likely to consider doing this
  • 40% are not likely to do it
  • 5% of the population already wear more than one mask on a regular basis


Consumer Confidence/Economic Outlook

Recent reports indicate it will likely be later in the summer or earlier in the fall before most Americans will have access to the COVID-19 vaccine. Knowing this, whether you actually use them or not, which of these types of places/services would you be willing to go to or use now?

Now, thinking ahead for when the COVID pandemic has been stabilized, whether you actually use them or not, which of these types of places/services do you anticipate going to or using?

  • Stores (for in-store shopping) – 56% Now (-5% change) / 67% Thinking Ahead (-6% change)
  • Outdoor restaurants/ Dining establishments – 38% Now (-1% change) / 45% Thinking Ahead (-5% change)
  • Indoor restaurants/ Dining establishments – 36% Now (-2% change) / 52% Thinking Ahead (-6% change)
  • Staying at a hotel – 30% Now (no change) / 41% Thinking Ahead (-4% change)
  • Hair/nail salons/barbershops/tattoo/ massage parlors – 30% Now (+1% change) / 39% Thinking Ahead (-3% change)
  • A large OUTSIDE event, such as a sporting event, concert or festival – 22% Now (+2% change) / 36% Thinking Ahead (-3% change)
  • A large event INSIDE an arena or public building, such as a concert, sporting event, or convention – 15% Now (no change) / 31% Thinking Ahead (no change)
  • Movie theaters – 22% Now (-1% change) / 36% Thinking Ahead (-2% change)
  • Gyms/fitness centers  – 21% Now (+2% change) / 26% Thinking Ahead (-1% change)
  • Flying on an airplane – 20% Now (+2% change) / 33% Thinking Ahead (-2% change)
  • Public transportation such as trains or buses – 15% Now (-2% change) / 20% Thinking Ahead (-4% change)
  • Leisure establishments such as bowling alleys and arcades – 15% Now (-2% change) / 25% Thinking Ahead (-5% change)
  • Bars/Clubs – 16% Now (+2% change) / 23% Thinking Ahead (-1% change)


Would you say that you (and your household) are better off or worse off financially than you were a year ago?

  • 27% Much/somewhat better off
  • 43% The same
  • 30% Much/somewhat worse off

Now looking ahead-do you think that a year from now you (and your household) will be better off financially, worse off, or about the same as now?

  • 45% Will be much/somewhat better off
  • 39% Will be he same
  • 16% Will be much/somewhat worse off

Now turning to business conditions in the United States as a whole – do you think that during the next twelve months we’ll have good times financially, or bad times?

  • 30% Very good/somewhat good times
  • 47% A mix of both
  • 22% Very bad/somewhat bad times

Looking ahead, which would you say is the most likely economic scenario for the United States during the next five years or so?

  • 14% Mostly periods of economic prosperity
  • 24% Somewhat more prosperity than instability
  • 34% About equal parts prosperity and instability
  • 15% Somewhat more instability than prosperity
  • 14% Mostly periods of economic instability

Do you think now is a good or bad time for you/your household to:

  • Save more than you are saving now
    • Very/Somewhat Good: 56%
    • Very Good: 25%
  • Invest more for retirement than you are now
    • Very/Somewhat Good: 42%
    • Very Good: 16%
  • Buy major home electronics such as a TV, computer, tablet
    • Very/Somewhat Good: 33%
    • Very Good: 11%
  • Make large home improvements/renovation projects
    • Very/Somewhat Good: 28%
    • Very Good: 11%
  • Buy large home appliances (refrigerator, dishwasher, washer/dryer, stove/oven)
    • Very/Somewhat Good: 27%
    • Very Good: 9%
  • Buy furniture and home decor
    • Very/Somewhat Good: 27%
    • Very Good: 10%
  • Buy a new car
    • Very/Somewhat Good: 25%
    • Very Good: 10%
  • Take a vacation or travel for an event
    • Very/Somewhat Good: 22%
    • Very Good: 10%


The Super Bowl

73% of respondents planned to watch the game. Of those who planned to watch the game, they responded to the following questions:

Where do you plan to watch the Super Bowl this year?

  • 58% At home
  • 9% At a friend or family member’s home
  • 7% At a bar/restaurant/other establishment/unsure

As you may know, CBS has the broadcast rights to this year’s Super Bowl. Knowing this, what is the PRIMARY way that you plan to watch the Super Bowl this year?

  • 53% On your local CBS affiliate via your cable/satellite subscription
  • 32% Via an over-the-air television antenna connection
  • 14% Streaming via CBS All Access/CBSSports.com
  • 1% On whatever format the bar/restaurant/establishment that I plan to go to uses

How much of the game are you planning to watch?

  • 46% All of it
  • 28% Most of it
  • 16% Just some of it
  • 10% It depends on how competitive the game is

Are you planning to cook at home or order takeout during the Super Bowl?

  • 83% Cook at home
  • 13% Order takeout (for pickup)
  • 12% Order takeout (for delivery)

What impact, does the absence of some big-name advertisers affect the likelihood that you will keep watching the Super Bowl this year?

  • 20% A lot of impact
  • 33% A little impact
  • 48% No impact at all


Dig deeper with the ENGINE Insights COVID Dashboard

The ENGINE COVID-19 dashboard delivers an easy-to-use, self-serve platform providing access to all of our COVID-19 tracking data including industry specific deep-dives and online behavioral data. This tool puts ENGINE’s data in your hands to uncover meaningful insights to your specific business questions.