Coronavirus Threatens U.S. Mall Traffic

Coronavirus Threatens U.S. Mall Traffic

According to a survey from Coresight Research, nearly three-quarters of U.S. consumers would stay away from malls or shopping centers if the coronavirus outbreak worsens in the U.S.

Some 58 percent of consumers surveyed this week said they will likely avoid public spaces overall or travel if the outbreak spreads further here,

“If the situation worsens (or even the perception of the situation), U.S. consumers could dramatically change habits to reduce the risk of infection, and this could hit retailers hard,” Coresight wrote in its report.

Other “discretionary spending destinations” such as restaurants and movie theaters could also take a hit if the virus threat grows, the retail and technology research firm said.

Coronavirus fears have already begun to take hold among American consumers as cases of the disease rise outside its point of origin in China, according to the survey of 1,934 U.S. adults conducted Tuesday and Wednesday.

Some 27.5 percent of consumers said they’re already limiting trips to public places, avoiding them altogether or changing travel arrangements, the findings show. Among those currently changing their behavior, 47 percent said they are avoiding or limiting visits to shopping centers/malls. Among respondents likely to change their behavior if the outbreak worsens, 75 percent expect to avoid malls — with this type of location topping the list of those to be avoided.