July 21, 2020
Coquitlam residents are willing to spend their money locally if they feel safe doing so, according to a new survey.
About a third of local residents are shopping locally more than before, based on a survey the City conducted in the last two weeks of June to gauge consumer confidence and find out what measures may be required as shopping, in-person dining and travelling begin to re-open.
Survey respondents pointed to crowds and lineups as top concerns, and most wanted to see physical distancing, cleaning and other measures to feel comfortable visiting in person. More than 1,200 people provided their feedback, most of them Coquitlam residents who either took part in the public survey or are part of the City’s Viewpoint online survey panel.
The data is being shared with local businesses to help them make informed decisions about how they may need to adapt their operations to meet the needs of their customers.
According to those surveyed, the pandemic has significantly changed local shopping patterns, with more than three-quarters saying they are shopping less in general. When they do shop, many are taking advantage of physically distant options. About 53 per cent are shopping online more and 28 per cent are ordering more delivery.
The good news for local businesses is that 30 per cent say they are shopping local more than usual.
When it comes to visiting businesses or attractions in person, the biggest concerns are crowds (68 per cent), long line-ups to enter (67 per cent), fear of catching COVID-19 (56 per cent), and long line-ups to pay (43 per cent). About a quarter of respondents disliked the inconvenience of physical distancing and 17 per cent mentioned costs.
Comfort levels varied depending on the activity. Most people feel very or somewhat comfortable visiting parks (83 per cent), buying from a food truck at a park (62 per cent) or visiting local retail businesses in person (57 per cent). About 44 per cent feel very or somewhat comfortable visiting local hair/nail salons or other personal service providers, and about 38 per cent dining in restaurants or pubs.
The vast majority of respondents said that to make them feel safe visiting in person, businesses need to ensure distance between patrons (84 per cent), limit the number of patrons (82 per cent), conduct regular anti-viral cleaning throughout the day (82 per cent) and install physical distancing equipment such as Plexiglas barriers (79 per cent). There was also high support for customers using hand sanitizer as they enter (78 per cent), staff wearing face masks or shields (71 per cent), and customers wearing face masks (56 per cent).
·About 60 to 70 per cent would be willing to pay five to 10 per cent more at grocery stores and restaurants to help cover the costs of safety measures – particularly if there was a service attached, such as delivery. About 35 to 45 per cent supported this concept at clothing, electronics and household goods stores.
·About 54 per cent will be staying in the Tri-Cities for their vacation, with about half planning day trips around the region or overnight trips in B.C.
·Most people commonly rely on store websites (77 per cent) or Google (64 per cent) for store hours and operations during the pandemic.
Almost 94 per cent of the 1,235 survey respondents said they were Coquitlam residents. The majority of other respondents were Tri-Cities residents. Ages of survey respondents ranged from teenagers to seniors, with 29 per cent falling between the ages of 16 and 44 and the balance distributed equally among those 45 years or older. More than 60 per cent of respondents identified as women.
An infographic summary and full detailed results, further broken down by age, gender and neighbourhood, can be viewed on the City’s Business Support Portal at www.letstalkcoquitlam.ca/business.
Supporting the Local Economy
The consumer survey is part of the City’s efforts to support the local economy during the pandemic. Other initiatives have included:
More economic development support initiatives will continue to roll out in the coming weeks and months.
Join Viewpoint to Have Your Say
Viewpoint, Coquitlam’s online survey community, is a convenient way to learn about and provide anonymous feedback on City issues, plans and services. Participation can be customized to areas of interest, and all answers are confidential. For information, visit www.coquitlam.ca/viewpoint.